via Nature, 25 August 2021: A new paper in Nature presents the genome from a 7,000 female skeleton associated with the Toalean culture which shows similarities to present-day Indigenous Australians and the Denisovans.
Much remains unknown about the population history of early modern humans in southeast Asia, where the archaeological record is sparse and the tropical climate is inimical to the preservation of ancient human DNA. So far, only two low-coverage pre-Neolithic human genomes have been sequenced from this region. Both are from mainland Hòabìnhian hunter-gatherer sites: Pha Faen in Laos, dated to 7939–7751 calibrated years before present (yr cal BP; present taken as AD 1950), and Gua Cha in Malaysia (4.4–4.2 kyr cal BP). Here we report, to our knowledge, the first ancient human genome from Wallacea, the oceanic island zone between the Sunda Shelf (comprising mainland southeast Asia and the continental islands of western Indonesia) and Pleistocene Sahul (Australia–New Guinea). We extracted DNA from the petrous bone of a young female hunter-gatherer buried 7.3–7.2 kyr cal BP at the limestone cave of Leang Panninge in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Genetic analyses show that this pre-Neolithic forager, who is associated with the ‘Toalean’ technocomplex, shares most genetic drift and morphological similarities with present-day Papuan and Indigenous Australian groups, yet represents a previously unknown divergent human lineage that branched off around the time of the split between these populations approximately 37,000 years ago. We also describe Denisovan and deep Asian-related ancestries in the Leang Panninge genome, and infer their large-scale displacement from the region today.
- Who were the Toaleans? Ancient woman’s DNA provides first evidence for the origin of a mysterious lost culture | The Conversation, 26 August 2021
- Oldest genome from Wallacea shows previously unknown ancient human relations | Science Direct, 25 August 2021
- Ancient DNA shows the peopling of Southeast Asian islands was surprisingly complex | Science News, 25 August 2021
- DNA from 7,300-year-old skeleton Bessé’ found in Sulawesi cave uncovers mysterious human lineage | ABC Science, 25 August 2021
- First ancient human DNA recovered from islands between Asia and Australia | Brisbane Times, 25 August 2021
- Ancient DNA from a teen girl reveals previously unknown group of humans | CNN, 25 August 2021
- Discovery of ancient human DNA in Southeast Asia ‘exceptionally rare,’ scientists say | ABC News, 25 August 2021
- 7,200-Year-Old Human DNA With Unique Denisovan Ancestry Has Been Found in Indonesia | Science Alert, 26 August 2021
- Study: Prehistoric Indonesian Woman Belonged to Extinct Human Lineage | Haaretz, 26 August 2021
- Ancient DNA adds layers to Australia’s ancestral past | Xinhua, 26 August 2021
- Researchers find genome link to extinct human group, key to evolution path passing through India | India Today, 26 August 2021
- Ancient woman’s DNA challenges scientists’ long-held theories about early humans | Sky News, 27 August 2021
- DNA of a female hunter-gatherer, buried 7,000 years ago in Indonesia, reveals population history of SE Asia | Indian Express, 10 Sep 2021
- Ancient Indonesian woman reshapes views on spread of early humans | Thomson Reuters Foundation News, 06 October 2021