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Back to the garden... origins of mankind.
Summer 2017Cover StoriesDaily News
When ancient fossil DNA isn't available, ancient glycans may help trace human evolution
Mon, Sep 11, 2017


[Image: when-ancient-fossil-dna-isn-t-available-...=1000&q=70]
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO—Ancient DNA recovered from fossils is a valuable tool to study evolution and anthropology. Yet ancient fossil DNA from earlier geological ages has not been found yet in any part of Africa, where it's destroyed by extreme heat and humidity. In a potential first step at overcoming this hurdle, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya have discovered a new kind of glycan—a type of sugar chain—that survives even in a 4 million-year-old animal fossil from Kenya, under conditions where ancient DNA does not.
While ancient fossils from hominins (human ancestors and extinct relatives) are not yet available for glycan analysis, this proof-of-concept study, published September 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may set the stage for unprecedented explorations of human origins and diet.
"In recent decades, many new hominin fossils were discovered and considered to be the ancestors of humans," said Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "But it's not possible that all gave rise to modern humans—it's more likely that there were many human-like species over time, only one from which we descended. This new type of glycan we found may give us a better way to investigate which lineage is ours, as well as answer many other questions about our evolution, and our propensity to consume red meat."
Glycans are complex sugar chains on the surfaces of all cells. They mediate interaction between cells and the environment, and often serve as docking sites for pathogens. For millions of years, the common ancestors of humans and other apes shared a particular glycan known as Neu5Gc. Then, for reasons possibly linked to a malarial parasite that exploited Neu5Gc as a means to establish infection, a mutation that probably occurred between 2 and 3 million years ago inactivated the human gene encoding the enzyme that makes the molecule. The loss of Neu5Gc amounted to a radical molecular makeover of human ancestral cell surfaces and might have created a fertility barrier that expedited the divergence of the lineage leading to humans.
Today, chimpanzees and most other mammals still produce Neu5Gc. In contrast, only trace amounts can be detected in human blood and tissue—not because we make Neu5Gc, but, according to a previous study by Varki's team, because we accumulate the glycan when eating Neu5Gc rich red meat. Humans mount an immune response to this non-native Neu5Gc, possibly aggravating diseases such as cancer.
In their latest study, Varki and team found that, as part of its natural breakdown, a signature part of Neu5Gc is also incorporated into chondroitin sulfate (CS), an abundant component in bone. They detected this newly discovered molecule, called Gc-CS, in a variety of mammalian samples, including easily detectable amounts in chimpanzee bones and mouse tissues.
Like Neu5Gc, they found that human cells and serum have only trace amounts of Gc-CS—again, likely from red meat consumption. The researchers backed up that assumption with the finding that mice engineered to lack Neu5Gc and Gc-Cs (similar to humans) had detectable Gc-CS only when fed Neu5Gc-containing chow.
Curious to see how stable and long-lasting Gc-CS might be, Varki bought a relatively inexpensive 50,000-year-old cave bear fossil at a public fossil show and took it back to the lab. Despite its age, the fossil indeed contained Gc-CS.
That's when Varki turned to a long-time collaborator—paleoanthropologist and famed fossil hunter Meave Leakey, PhD, of Turkana Basin Institute of Kenya and Stony Brook University. Knowing that researchers need to make a very strong case before they are given precious ancient hominin fossil samples, even for DNA analysis, Leakey recommended that the researchers first prove their method by detecting Gc-CS in even older animal fossils. To that end, with the permission of the National Museums of Kenya, she gave them a fragment of a 4-million-year-old fossil from a buffalo-like animal recovered in the excavation of a bone bed at Allia Bay, in the Turkana Basin of northern Kenya. Hominin fossils were also recovered from the same horizon in this bone bed.
Varki and team were still able to recover Gc-CS in these much older fossils. If they eventually find Gc-Cs in ancient hominin fossils as well, the researchers say it could open up all kinds of interesting possibilities.
"Once we've refined our technique to the point that we need smaller sample amounts and are able to obtain ancient hominin fossils from Africa, we may eventually be able to classify them into two groups—those that have Gc-CS and those that do not. Those that lack the molecule would mostly likely belong to the lineage that led to modern humans," said Varki, who is also adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and co-director of the UC San Diego/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA).
In a parallel line of inquiry, Varki hopes Gc-CS detection will also reveal the point in evolution when humans began consuming large amounts of red meat.
"It's possible we'll one day find three groups of hominin fossils—those with Gc-CS before the human lineage branched off, those without Gc-CS in our direct lineage, and then more recent fossils in which trace amounts of Gc-CS began to reappear when our ancestors began eating red meat," Varki said. "Or maybe our ancestors lost Gc-CS more gradually, or only after we began eating red meat. It will be interesting to see, and we can begin asking these questions now that we know we can reliably find Gc-CS in ancient fossils in Africa."
Leakey is also hopeful about the role Gc-CS could play in the future, as an alternative to current approaches.
"Because DNA rapidly degrades in the tropics, genetic studies are not possible in fossils of human ancestors older than only a few thousand years," she said. "Therefore such ancient glycan studies have the potential to provide a new and important method for the investigation of human origins."
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[Image: 36964759806_c5bdb49606.jpg]
Partial upper jaw of Australopithecus anamensis, a primitive hominin, recovered from the bone bed excavated at the Allia Bay site. Photo courtesy of Meave Leakey, PhD
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[Image: 36964766076_4a381efe71.jpg]
Excavation of the bone bed at the Allia Bay site, East Turkana, in 1996. A cross section of the bone bed can be seen passing diagonally from the center of the image to the right hand corner. This is the site where researchers collected a 4-million-year-old bovid fossil that contained Gc-CS. Photo courtesy of Meave Leakey, PhD.
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Co-authors of this study also include: Anne K. Bergfeld, Roger Lawrence, Sandra L. Diaz, Oliver M.T. Pearce, Darius Ghaderi, and Pascal Gagneux, all at UC San Diego.
Article Source: University of California, San Diego news release


http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/summer-2017/article/when-ancient-fossil-dna-isn-t-available-ancient-glycans-may-help-trace-human-evolution
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People may have lived in Brazil more than 20,000 years ago
BY 
BRUCE BOWER 

7:00AM, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017


[Image: 090117_BB_south-america_main.jpg][img=788x0]https://www.sciencenews.org/sites/default/files/2017/09/main/blogposts/090117_BB_south-america_main.jpg[/img]
EARLY ARRIVALS  Excavations at a Brazilian rock shelter near the center of South America (left) suggest that humans hunted giant sloths there more than 20,000 years ago. Ancient people used some sloth bones unearthed at the site (right, top and bottom) as personal ornaments, based on notches and holes in those finds.

D. VIALOU ET AL/ANTIQUITY 2017
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People hunted giant sloths in the center of South America around 23,120 years ago, researchers say — a find that adds to evidence that humans reached South America well before Clovis hunters roamed North America roughly 13,000 years ago.
Evidence of people’s presence at Santa Elina rock shelter, located in a forested part of central-west Brazil, so long ago raises questions about how people first entered South America. Early settlers may have floated down the Pacific Coast in canoes before heading 2,000 kilometers east to the remote rock shelter, or they might have taken an inland route from North America, archaeologist Denis Vialou of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and his colleagues report in the August Antiquity. Other South American sites reportedly occupied by Stone Age humans lie much closer to the coast than Santa Elina does.
Excavations at Santa Elina from 1984 to 2004 revealed three sediment layers containing numerous stone artifacts and bones of giant sloths called Glossotherium. Sloth remains included small, bony plates from the skin that humans made into ornaments of some kind by adding notches and holes. Sediment layers also contained remains of hearths.
Three dating methods, applied to charcoal particles, sediment and sloth bones, indicate that people first reached Santa Elina more than 20,000 years ago. Humans again visited the rock shelter from around 10,120 to 2,000 years ago, the researchers say.[/size]


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Editor's note: This story was updated September 12, 2017, to correct the location of Santa Elina. It's in central-west, not eastern, Brazil.

Citations
D. Vialou et al. Peopling South America’s center: the late Pleistocene site of Santa ElinaAntiquity. Vol. 91, August 2017, p. 865. doi:10.15184/aqy.2017.101.
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Further Reading
B. Bower. People roamed tip of South America 18,500 years ago. Science News. Vol. 188, December 26, 2015, p. 10.
B. Bower. Disputed finds put humans in South America 22,000 years ago. Science News. Vol. 183, April 20, 2013, p. 9.


https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/stone-age-people-brazil-20000-years-ago
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Ancient human DNA in sub-Saharan Africa lifts veil on prehistory
September 21, 2017

[Image: ancienthuman.png]
Mount Hora in Malawi, where the oldest DNA in the study, from a woman who lived more than 8,000 years ago, was obtained. Credit: Jessica C. Thompson/Emory University
The first large-scale study of ancient human DNA from sub-Saharan Africa opens a long-awaited window into the identity of prehistoric populations in the region and how they moved around and replaced one another over the past 8,000 years.


The findings, published Sept. 21 in Cell by an international research team led by Harvard Medical School, answer several longstanding mysteries and uncover surprising details about sub-Saharan African ancestry—including genetic adaptations for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and the first glimpses of population distribution before farmers and animal herders swept across the continent about 3,000 years ago.
"The last few thousand years were an incredibly rich and formative period that is key to understanding how populations in Africa got to where they are today," said David Reich, professor of genetics at HMS and a senior associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. "Ancestry during this time period is such an unexplored landscape that everything we learned was new."
Reich shares senior authorship of the study with Ron Pinhasi of the University of Vienna and Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Tübingen in Germany.
"Ancient DNA is the only tool we have for characterizing past genomic diversity. It teaches us things we don't know about history from archaeology and linguistics and can help us better understand present-day populations," said Pontus Skoglund, a postdoctoral researcher in the Reich lab and the study's first author. "We need to ensure we use it for the benefit of all populations around the world, perhaps especially Africa, which contains the greatest human genetic diversity in the world but has been underserved by the genomics community."
Long time coming
Although ancient-DNA research has revealed insights into the population histories of many areas of the world, delving into the deep ancestry of African groups wasn't possible until recently because genetic material degrades too rapidly in warm, humid climates.
Technological advances—including the discovery by Pinhasi and colleagues that DNA persists longer in small, dense ear bones—are now beginning to break the climate barrier. Last year, Reich and colleagues used the new techniques to generate the first genome-wide data from the earliest farmers in the Near East, who lived between 8,000 and 12,000 years ago.

In the new study, Skoglund and team, including colleagues from South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya, coaxed DNA from the remains of 15 ancient sub-Saharan Africans. The individuals came from a variety of geographic regions and ranged in age from about 500 to 8,500 years old.
The researchers compared these ancient genomes—along with the only other known ancient genome from the region, previously published in 2015—against those of nearly 600 present-day people from 59 African populations and 300 people from 142 non-African groups.
With each analysis, revelations rolled in.
"We are peeling back the first layers of the agricultural transition south of the Sahara," said Skoglund. "Already we can see that there was a whole different landscape of populations just 2,000 or 3,000 years ago."
[Image: ancientdnada.png]
This visual abstract depicts the findings of Skoglund et al. In their paper, the prehistory of African populations is explored by genome-wide analysis of 16 human remains providing insight into lineages, admixture, and genomicadaptions. Credit: Skoglund et al./Cell 2017
Genomic time-lapse
Almost half of the team's samples came from Malawi, providing a series of genomic snapshots from the same location across thousands of years.
The time-series divulged the existence of an ancient hunter-gatherer population the researchers hadn't expected.
When agriculture spread in Europe and East Asia, farmers and animal herders expanded into new areas and mixed with the hunter-gatherers who lived there. Present-day populations thus inherited DNA from both groups.
The new study found evidence for similar movement and mixing in other parts of Africa, but after farmers reached Malawi, hunter-gatherers seem to have disappeared without contributing any detectable ancestry to the people who live there today.
"It looks like there was a complete population replacement," said Reich. "We haven't seen clear evidence for an event like this anywhere else."
The Malawi snapshots also helped identify a population that spanned from the southern tip of Africa all the way to the equator about 1,400 years ago before fading away. That mysterious group shared ancestry with today's Khoe-San people in southern Africa and left a few DNA traces in people from a group of islands thousands of miles away, off the coast of Tanzania.
"It's amazing to see these populations in the DNA that don't exist anymore," said Reich. "It's clear that gathering additional DNA samples will teach us much more."
"The Khoe-San are such a genetically distinctive people, it was a surprise to find a closely related ancestor so far north just a couple of thousand years ago," Reich added.
The new study also found that West Africans can trace their lineage back to a human ancestor that may have split off from other African populations even earlier than the Khoe-San.
Missing links
The research similarly shed light on the origins of another unique group, the Hadza people of East Africa.
"They have a distinct appearance, language and genetics, and some people speculated that, like the Khoe-San, they might represent a very early diverging group from other African populations," said Reich. "Our study shows that instead, they're somehow in the middle of everything."
The Hadza, according to genomic comparisons, are today more closely related to non-Africans than to other Africans. The researchers hypothesize that the Hadza are direct descendants of the group that migrated out of Africa, and possibly spread within Africa as well, after about 50,000 years ago.
Another discovery lay in wait in East Africa.
Scientists had predicted the existence of an ancient population based on the observation that present-day people in southern Africa share ancestry with people in the Near East. The 3,000-year-old remains of a young girl in Tanzania provided the missing evidence.
Reich and colleagues suspect that the girl belonged to a herding population that contributed significant ancestry to present-day people from Ethiopia and Somalia down to South Africa. The ancient population was about one-third Eurasian, and the researchers were able to further pinpoint that ancestry to the Levant region.
"With this sample in hand, we can now say more about who these people were," said Skoglund.
The finding put one mystery to rest while raising another: Present-day people in the Horn of Africa have additional Near Eastern ancestry that can't be explained by the group to which the young girl belonged.
Natural selection
Finally, the study took a first step in using ancient DNA to understand genetic adaptation in African populations.
It required "squeezing water out of a stone" because the researchers were working with so few ancient samples, said Reich, but Skoglund was able to identify two regions of the genome that appear to have undergone natural selection in southern Africans.
One adaptation increased protection from ultraviolet radiation, which the researchers propose could be related to life in the Kalahari Desert. The other variant was located on genes related to taste buds, which the researchers point out can help people detect poisons in plants.
The researchers hope that their study encourages more investigation into the diverse genetic landscape of human populations in Africa, both past and present. Reich also said he hopes the work reminds people that African history didn't end 50,000 years ago when groups of humans began migrating into the Near East and beyond.
"The late Stone Age in Africa is like a black hole, research-wise," said Reich. "Ancient DNA can address that gap."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: DNA analyses reveal genetic identities of world's first farmers
More information: "Reconstructing Prehistoric African Population Structure" Cell (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.08.049http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)31008-5 
Journal reference: Cell [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Harvard Medical School



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-ancient-human-dna-sub-saharan-africa.html#jCp[/url][url=https://phys.org/news/2017-09-ancient-human-dna-sub-saharan-africa.html#jCp]
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This thread rewrites olde school ANU.

This thread is to discuss and update our knowledge on the origins of mankind.

The fascinating subject of our origins has recently been populated with anomalous new hominid species.

Living literally alongside us yet now they all seem gone.

So much new information has arisen that itz time for a total update for 2016. 2017

What we learned in school can for the most part either be used as a general frame-work and set of loose guidelines or just go ahead and toss all that bull-shit in the trash and just start fresh here.
Quote:[Image: fossil-footprints-stolen-660x330.jpg]

Local high school teacher arrested for fossil footprints theft in Crete
September 15, 2017 ArcheologyCulture Leave a comment

What we learned in school can for the most part either be used as a general frame-work and set of loose guidelines or just go ahead and toss all that bull-shit in the trash and just start fresh here.


[/url]Share2

A local high school teacher has been arrested for the theft of fossil footprints in Kasteli, Chania, on the island of Crete. A part of the stolen human-like footprints were found in the home of the 55-year-old who is a resident of Kissamos. Security cameras had recorded the thief when he was removing the 5.-7-million-year-old fossils last week.





Quote:"This means that modern humans emerged earlier than previously thought,"  Doh   says Mattias Jakobsson, population geneticist at Uppsala University who headed the project together with Stone Age archaeologist Marlize Lombard at the University of Johannesburg.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-modern-humans-emerged-years.html#jCp



Modern humans emerged more than 300,000 years ago, new study suggests
September 28, 2017

[Image: modernhumans.jpg]
Dr. Helena Malmström conducting on-site sampling of bone matrial in a mobil sampling lab. Credit: Uppsala University
A genomic analysis of ancient human remains from KwaZulu-Natal revealed that southern Africa has an important role to play in writing the history of humankind. A research team from Uppsala University, Sweden, the Universities of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand, South Africa, presents their results in the September 28th early online issue of Science.



The team sequenced the genomes of seven individuals who lived in southern Africa 2300-300 years ago. The three oldest individuals dating to 2300-1800 years ago were genetically related to the descendants of the southern Khoe-San groups, and the four younger individuals who lived 500-300 years ago were genetically related to current-day South African Bantu-speaking groups. "This illustrates the population replacement that occurred in southern Africa," says co-first author Carina Schlebusch, population geneticist at Uppsala University.
The authors estimate the divergence among modern humans to have occurred between 350,000 and 260,000 years ago, based on the ancient Stone Age hunter-gatherer genomes. The deepest split time of 350,000 years ago represents a comparison between an ancient Stone Age hunter-gatherer boy from Ballito Bay on the east coast of South Africa and the West African Mandinka. "This means that modern humans emerged earlier than previously thought," says Mattias Jakobsson, population geneticist at Uppsala University who headed the project together with Stone Age archaeologist Marlize Lombard at the University of Johannesburg.
The fossil record of east Africa, and in particular the Omo and Herto fossils, have often been used to set the emergence of anatomically modern humans to about 180,000 years ago. The deeper estimate for modern human divergence at 350,000-260,000 years ago coincides with the Florisbad and Hoedjiespunt fossils, contemporaries of the small-brained Homo naledi in southern Africa. "It now seems that at least two or three Homo species occupied the southern African landscape during this time period, which also represents the early phases of the Middle Stone Age," says Marlize Lombard. It will be interesting to see in future if we find any evidence of interaction between these groups.
"We did not find any evidence of deep structure or archaic admixture among southern African Stone Age hunter-gatherers. Instead, we see some evidence for deep structure in the West African population, but that affects only a small fraction of their genome and is about the same age as the deepest divergence among all humans," says Mattias Jakobsson.
[Image: 59ccce67ee96a.jpg]
Demographic model of African history and estimated divergences. Vertical colored lines represent migration, with down-pointing triangles representing admixture into another group. Southern African hunter-gatherers are shown by red symbols, and Iron Age farmers as green symbols. Extracted from figure 3. Credit: Uppsala University
The authors also found that all current-day Khoe-San populations admixed with migrant East African pastoralists a little over a thousand years ago. "We could not detect this widespread East African admixture previously since we did not have an un-admixed San group to use as reference. Now that we have access to ancient DNA of people who lived on the landscape before the East African migration, we are able to detect the admixture percentages in all San groups. The admixture percentages in the Khoekhoe, historically identified as pastoralists, are higher than previously estimated," says Carina Schlebusch.


Of the Iron Age individuals, three carry at least one Duffy null allele, protecting against malaria, and two have at least one sleeping-sickness-resistance variant in the APOL1 gene. The Stone Age individuals do not carry these protective alleles. "This tells us that Iron Age farmers carried these disease-resistance variants when they migrated to southern Africa," says co-first author Helena Malmström, archaeo-geneticist at Uppsala University.
Marlize Lombard said that "archaeological deposits dating to the time of the split by 350,000-260,000 years ago, attest to South Africa being populated by tool-making hunter-gatherers at the time. Although human fossils are sparse, those of Florisbad and Hoedjiespunt are seen as transitional to modern humans." These fossils may therefore be ancestral to the Ballito Bay boy and other San hunter-gatherers who lived in southern Africa 2000 years ago. 3E3E3E...3E3E3E...
[Image: stoneagechil.jpg]
Marlize Lombard (University of Johannesburg) excavating at Sibudu Cave (under the direction of Prof Lyn Wadley, University of the Witwatersrand), about 40 km southeast of Ballito Bay where the boy was found. The cave was intermittently occupied by humans from at least 77 000 years ago who might have been ancestral to the Ballito boy. Credit: Lyn Wadley, University of the Witwatersrand.
The transition from archaic to modern humans might not have occurred in one place in Africa but in several, including southern Africa and northern Africa as recently reported. "Thus, both palaeo-anthropological and genetic evidence increasingly points to multiregional origins of anatomically modern humans in Africa, i.e. Homo sapiens did not originate in one place in Africa, but might have evolved from older forms in several places on the continent with gene flow between groups from different places," says Carina Schlebusch.
"It is remarkable that we can now sequence entire genomes of ancient human remains from tropical areas, such as the southeast coast of South Africa," says Helena Malmström. This is promising for our several ongoing investigations in Africa.
Cumulatively these findings shed new light on our species' deep African history and show that there is still much more to learn about our process of becoming modern humans and that the interplay between genetics and archaeology has an increasingly important role to play.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Lactase persistence alleles reveal ancestry of southern African Khoe pastoralists
More information: C. Schlebusch el al., "Southern African ancient genomes estimate modern human divergence to 350,000 to 260,000 years ago," Science (2017). science.sciencemag.org/lookup/ … 1126/science.aao6266 
Journal reference: Science [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Uppsala University



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-modern-hum...s.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-09-modern-humans-emerged-years.html#jCp]
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Discovery of 10,000-year-old petroglyph in Norway described as 'sensational'
[Image: 94f529faea2c906b06af3682161e306666f0897f...3d79fd.jpg]

Photo: Jan Magne Gjerde / Universitetet i Tromsø / NTB scanpix
A petroglyph of a boat discovered in northern Norway has been estimated to date back 10,000 to 11,000 years.
[/url]The petroglyph was discovered by retired geologist Ingvar Lindahl at Efjorden in the Nordland county, reports broadcaster [url=https://www.nrk.no/nordland/sensasjonelt-funn_-_-dette-er-trolig-verdens-eldste-avbildning-av-bat-1.13706728]NRK.
Analysis has now estimated the petroglyph, which depicts a boat, to be between 10,000 and 11,000 years old, according to the report.
“This is an extremely important development, a global sensation in fact, and will enter the history of research in a very, very big way,” archaeologist Jan Magne Gjerde of Tromsø University told NRK.
The petroglyph was dated using estimates of the height of the water level against the rock on which it is carved, Gjerde said. Water levels in the region were higher during the Stone Age than they are today.
“The boat is a little over four metres long. You can see the keel line and the railing line, and as you move forward you can see a really beautiful finish, forming the boat’s bows,” Gjerde told NRK, adding that the find was “incredibly exciting”.

The petroglyph is possibly the oldest in the world depicting a boat, the archaeologist told NRK.

https://www.thelocal.no/20170927/discovery-of-10000-year-old-petroglyph-in-norway-described-as-sensational

garden...
Earliest Evidence of Domesticated Sorghum Discovered

Sep 28, 2017 by News Staff / Source

Sorghum was domesticated from its wild ancestor more than 5,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence uncovered by University College London archaeologist Dorian Fuller and colleagues in Sudan.
[Image: image_5271_1-Sorghum.jpg][img=580x0]http://cdn.sci-news.com/images/2017/09/image_5271_1-Sorghum.jpg[/img]
Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). Image credit: Pethan, Botanical Gardens, Utrecht University / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is a native African grass that was utilized for thousands of years by prehistoric peoples, and emerged as one of the world’s five most important cereal crops, along with rice, wheat, barley, and maize.
For a half century scientists have hypothesized that native African groups were domesticating sorghum outside the winter rainfall zone of the ancient Egyptian Nile Valley — where wheat and barley cereals were predominant — in the semi-arid tropics of Africa, but no archaeological evidence existed.
The newest evidence comes from an archaeological site near Kassala in eastern Sudan, dating from 3500 to 3000 BC, and is associated with the Butana Group culture.
“This new discovery in eastern Sudan reveals that during the 4th millennium BC, peoples of the Butana Group were intensively cultivating wild stands of sorghum until they began to change the plant genetically into domesticated morphotypes,” Dr. Fuller and co-authors said.
[Image: image_5271_2-Sorghum.jpg][img=580x0]http://cdn.sci-news.com/images/2017/09/image_5271_2-Sorghum.jpg[/img]
Diagrammatic comparison of wild and domesticated sorghum. Image credit: D.Q. Fuller.

The researchers examined plant impressions within broken pottery from the largest Butana Group site, KG23.
“Ceramic sherds recovered from excavations undertaken by the Southern Methodist University Butana Project during the 1980s from the KG23 site were analyzed,” they explained.
“Examination of the plant impressions in the pottery revealed diagnostic chaff in which both domesticated and wild sorghum types were identified, thus providing archaeobotanical evidence for the beginnings of cultivation and emergence of domesticated characteristics within sorghum during the 4th millennium BC in eastern Sudan.”
“Along with the recent discovery of domesticated pearl millet in eastern Mali around 2500 BC, this discovery pushes back the process for domesticating summer rainfall cereals another thousand years in the Sahel, with sorghum, providing new evidence for the earliest known native African cultigen,” they said.
The research is published in the journal Current Anthropology.
_____
Frank Winchell et al. Evidence for Sorghum Domestication in Fourth Millennium BC Eastern Sudan: Spikelet Morphology from Ceramic Impressions of the Butana Group. Current Anthropology, published online September 20, 2017; doi: 10.1086/693898

http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/earliest-evidence-domesticated-sorghum-05271.html

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...
fantastic new science and information!
Thanks!
I could barely see the boat in the image supplied, 
and only after several tries.
10,000 years old.
And the western science tries to tell us,
that humans didn't travel across the oceans to the Americas before Columbus.

Columbus was the last human explorer .... to be the first to do it.

The sorghum science discovery was excellent as well.
and "pearl millet" in eastern Mali.

Most of the ancient grains like millet and amaranth etc., 
had high levels of proanthocyandins,
found in grape seed extract.
Modern grains have none of that excellent antioxidant,
which aids in rounding up free radicals roaming the bloodstream and body systems.
Anti-cancer activity as well.

...
Reply
New study suggests that last common ancestor of humans and apes was smaller than thought
October 12, 2017

New research suggests that the last common ancestor of apes—including great apes and humans—was much smaller than previously thought, about the size of a gibbon. The findings, published today in the journal Nature Communications, are fundamental to understanding the evolution of the human family tree.

"Body size directly affects how an animal relates to its environment, and no trait has a wider range of biological implications," said lead author Mark Grabowski, a visiting assistant professor at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany who conducted the work while he was a postdoctoral fellow in the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Anthropology. "However, little is known about the size of the last common ancestor of humans and all living apes. This omission is startling because numerous paleobiological hypotheses depend on body size estimates at and prior to the root of our lineage."
Among living primates, humans are most closely related to apes, which include the lesser apes (gibbons) and the great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans). These "hominoids" emerged and diversified during the Miocene, between about 23 million to 5 million years ago. Because fossils are so scarce, researchers do not know what the last common ancestors of living apes and humans looked like or where they originated.
To get a better idea of body mass evolution within this part of the primate family tree, Grabowski and coauthor William Jungers from Stony Brook University compared body size data from modern primates, including humans, to recently published estimates for fossil hominins and a wide sample of fossil primates including Miocene apes from Africa, Europe, and Asia. They found that the common ancestor of apes was likely small, probably weighing about 12 pounds, which goes against previous suggestions of a chimpanzee-sized, chimpanzee-like ancestor.
Among other things, the finding has implications for a behavior that's essential for large, tree-dwelling primates: it implies that "suspensory locomotion," overhand hanging and swinging, arose for other reasons than the animal simply getting too big to walk on top of branches. The researchers suggest that the ancestor was already somewhat suspensory, and larger body size evolved later, with both adaptations occurring at separate points. The development of suspensory locomotion could have been part of an "arms race" with a growing number of monkey species, the researchers said. Branch swinging allows an animal to get to a prized and otherwise inaccessible food—fruit on the edges of foliage—and larger body would let them engage in direct confrontation with monkeys when required.
The new research also reveals that australopiths, a group of early human relatives, were actually on average smaller than their ancestors, and that this smaller size continued until the arrival of Homo erectus.
"There appears to be a decrease in overall body size within our lineage, rather than size simply staying the same or getting bigger with time, which goes against how we generally think about evolution," Grabowski said.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Human ancestor was less-chimp-like than thought: study
More information: Mark Grabowski et al, Evidence of a chimpanzee-sized ancestor of humans but a gibbon-sized ancestor of apes, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00997-4 
Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: American Museum of Natural History



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-common-ancestor-humans-apes-smaller.html#jCp[/url]



Study identifies genes responsible for diversity of human skin colors
October 12, 2017

[url=https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/hires/2017/1-pennledstudy.jpg][Image: 1-pennledstudy.jpg]

Mursi woman of Nilo-Saharan ancestry. Nilo-Saharan pastoralist populations possess some of the darkest skin in Africa. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found mutations associated with both light and dark pigmentation in a genome-wide association study of diverse African populations. Credit: Alessia Ranciaro
Human populations feature a broad palette of skin tones. But until now, few genes have been shown to contribute to normal variation in skin color, and these had primarily been discovered through studies of European populations.

Now, a study of diverse African groups led by University of Pennsylvania geneticists has identified new genetic variants associated with skin pigmentation. The findings help explain the vast range of skin color on the African continent, shed light on human evolution and inform an understanding of the genetic risk factors for conditions such as skin cancer.
"We have identified new genetic variants that contribute to the genetic basis of one of the most strikingly variable traits in modern humans," said Sarah Tishkoff, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology with appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences. "When people think of skin color in Africa most would think of darker skin, but we show that within Africa there is a huge amount of variation, ranging from skin as light as some Asians to the darkest skin on a global level and everything in between. We identify genetic variants affecting these traits and show that mutations influencing light and dark skin have been around for a long time, since before the origin of modern humans."
The findings are published in the journal Science. Tishkoff, senior author, collaborated with first author and lab member Nicholas Crawford, a postdoctoral fellow, and a multi-institutional, international team.
Tishkoff has long studied the genetics of African populations, looking at traits such as height, lactose tolerance, bitter-taste sensitivity and high-altitude adaptation. Skin color emerged as a trait of interest from her experience working on the continent and seeing the diversity present across groups.
"Skin color is a classic variable trait in humans, and it's thought to be adaptive," Tishkoff said. "Analysis of the genetic basis of variation in skin color sheds light on how adaptive traits evolve, including those that play a role in disease risk."

Both light and dark skin pigmentations confer benefits: Darker skin, for example, is believed to help prevent some of the negative impacts of ultraviolet light exposure, while lighter skin is better able to promote synthesis of vitamin D in regions with low ultraviolet light exposure.

To objectively capture the range of skin pigmentation in Africa, Tishkoff and colleagues used a color meter to measure the light reflectance of the skin of more than 2,000 Africans from ethnically and genetically diverse populations. They took the measurement from the inner arm, when sun exposure is minimal. The measurements can be used to infer levels of the skin pigment melanin. They obtained a range of measurements; the darkest skin was observed in Nilo-Saharan pastoralist populations in eastern Africa, and the lightest skin was observed in San hunter-gatherer populations in southern Africa.

The researchers obtained genetic information from nearly 1,600 people, examining more than 4 million single nucleotide polymorphisms across the genome, places where the DNA code may differ by one "letter." From this dataset the researchers were able to do a genome-wide association study and found four key areas of the genome where variation closely correlated with skin color differences.

[Image: pennledstudy.jpg]

In a first-of-its-kind study, University of Pennsylvania researchers studied the genetics behind skin pigmentation of diverse African populations, finding new genetic variants associated with skin color. Here, senior research scientist …more

The region with the strongest associations was in and around the SLC24A5 gene, one variant of which is known to play a role in light skin color in European and some southern Asian populations and is believed to have arisen more than 30,000 years ago. This variant was common in populations in Ethiopia and Tanzania that were known to have ancestry from southeast Asia and the Middle East, suggesting it was carried into Africa from those regions and, based on its frequency, may have been positively selected.

Another region, which contains the MFSD12 gene, had the second strongest association to skin pigmentation. This gene is expressed at low levels in depigmented skin in individuals with vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses pigment in some areas.

"I still rememeber the 'ah ha!' moment when we saw this gene was associated with vitiligo," said Crawford. "That's when we knew we'd found something new and exciting."

The team found that mutations in and around this gene that were associated with dark pigmentation were present at high frequencies in populations of Nilo-Saharan ancestry, who tend to have very dark skin, as well as across sub-Saharan populations, except the San, who tend to have lighter skin. They also identified these variants, as well as others associated with dark skin pigmentation, in South Asian Indian and Australo-Melanesian populations, who tend to have the darkest skin coloration outside of Africa.

"The origin of traits such as hair texture, skin color and stature, which are shared between some indigenous populations in Melanesia and Australia and some sub-Saharan Africans, has long been a mystery." Tishkoff said. "Some have argued it's because of convergent evolution, that they independently evolved these mutations, but our study finds that, at genes associated with skin color, they have the identical variants associated with dark skin as Africans.

"Our data are consistent with a proposed early migration event of modern humans out of Africa along the southern coast of Asia and into Australo-Melanesia and a secondary migration event into other regions. However, it is also possible that there was a single African source population that contained genetic variants associated with both light and dark skin and that the variants associated with dark pigmentation were maintained only in South Asians and Australo-Melanesians and lost in other Eurasians due to natural selection."

Also of interest was that genetic variants at MFSD12OCA2, and HERC2 associated with light skin pigmentation were at highest frequency in the African San population, which has the oldest genetic lineages in the world, as well as in Europeans.

MFSD12 is highly expressed in melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. To verify the gene's role in contributing to skin pigmentation, the researchers blocked expression of the gene in cells in culture and found an increase in production of eumelanin, the pigment type responsible for black and brown skin, hair and eye color. Knocking out the gene in zebrafish caused a loss of cells that produce yellow pigment. And in mice, knocking out the gene changed the color of their coat from agouti, caused by hairs with a red and yellow pigment, to a uniform gray by eliminating production of pheomelanin, a type of pigment also found in humans.

"Apart from one study showing that MFSD12 was associated with vitiligo lesions, we didn't know much else about it," said Crawford, "so these functional assays were really crucial."








 








Alessia Ranciaro and Simon Thompson. Credit: Alessia Ranciaro and Simon Thompson/University of Pennsylvania

"We went beyond most genome-wide association studies to do functional assays," Tishkoff said, "and found that knocking out MFSD12 dramatically impacted the pigmentation of fish and mice. It's pointing to this being a very conserved trait across species.

"We don't know exactly why, but blocking this gene causes a loss of pheomelanin production and an increase in eumelanin production," Tishkoff added. "We also showed that Africans have a lower level of MFSD12 expression, which makes sense, as low levels of the gene means more eumelanin production."

A collaborator on the work, Michael Marks, a professor in the departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and of Physiology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and at Penn Medicine, demonstrated that the MFSD12 gene influences eumelanin pigmentation in a novel manner. Unlike other pigmentation genes, which are expressed mainly in melanosomes, the organelle where melanin is produced, MFSD12 is expressed in lysosomes, a distinct organelle from the melanosomes that produce eumelanin.

"Our results suggest there must be some kind of as-yet-uncharacterized form of cross-talk between lysosomes and the melanosomes that make eumelanins," Marks said. "Figuring out how this works might provide new ideas for ways to manipulate skin pigmentation for therapeutic means.

"In addition," Marks said, "the fact that loss of MFSD12 expression had opposite effects on the two types of melanins, increasing eumelanin production while suppressing pheomelanin, suggests that melanosomes that make pheomelanins might be more related to lysosomes than those that make eumelanin."

Additional associations with skin color were found in the OCA2 and HERC2 genes, which have been linked with skin, eye and hair color variation in Europeans, though the mutations identified are novel. Mutations in OCA2 also cause a form of albinism that is more common in Africans than in other populations. The researchers observed genetic variants in a neighboring gene, HERC2, which regulates the expression of OCA2. Within OCA2, they identified a variant common in Europeans and San that is associated with a shorter version of the protein, with an altered function. They observed a signal of balancing selection of OCA2, meaning that two different versions of the gene have been maintained, in this case for more than 600,000 years.

"What this tells us," Tishkoff said, "is there is likely some selective force maintaining these two alleles. It is likely that this gene is playing a role in other aspects of human physiology which are important."

A final genetic region the researchers found to be associated with skin pigmentation included genes that play a role in ultraviolet light response and melanoma risk. The top candidate gene in the region is DDB1, involved in repairing DNA after exposure to UV light.

"Africans don't get melanoma very often," Tishkoff said. "The variants near these genes are highest in populations who live in areas of the highest ultraviolet light intensity, so it makes sense that they may be playing a role in UV protection."

[Image: 59df364fe55df.jpg]

A Ju/‘hoansi individual of the San who was not part of the study. Credit: Alessia Ranciaro

The mutations identified by the team play a role in regulating expression of DDB1 and other nearby genes.

"Though we don't yet know the mechanism by which DDB1 is impacting pigmentation, it is of interest to note that this gene, which is highly conserved across species, also plays a role in pigmentation in plants such as tomatoes," said Tishkoff.

The team saw evidence that this region of the genome has been a strong target of natural selection outside of Africa; mutations associated with light skin color swept to nearly 100 percent frequency in non-Africans, one of few examples of a "selective sweep" in all Eurasians; the age of the selective sweep was estimated to be around 60,000 to 80,000 years old, around the time of migration of modern humans out of Africa.

One additional takeaway from this work is a broader picture of the evolution of skin color in humans. Most of the genetic variants associated with light and dark pigmentation from the study appear to have originated more than 300,000 years ago, and some emerged roughly 1 million years ago, well before the emergence of modern humans. The older version of these variants in many cases was the one associated with lighter skin, suggesting that perhaps the ancestral state of humans was moderately pigmented rather than darkly pigmented skin.

"If you were to shave a chimp, it has light pigmentation," Tishkoff said, "so it makes sense that skin color in the ancestors of modern humans could have been relatively light. It is likely that when we lost the hair covering our bodies and moved from forests to the open savannah, we needed dark skin.

Tishkoff noted that the work underscores the diversity of African populations and the lack of support for biological notions of race.

"Many of the genes and new genetic variants we identified to be associated with skin color may never have been found outside of Africa, because they are not as highly variable," Tishkoff said. "There is so much diversity in Africa that's not often appreciated. There's no such thing as an African race. We show that skin color is extremely variable on the African continent and that it is still evolving. Further, in most cases the genetic variants associated with light skin arose in Africa."

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: More traits associated with your Neandertal DNA

More information: N.G. Crawford el al., "Loci associated with skin pigmentation identified in African populations," Science (2017). science.sciencemag.org/lookup/ … 1126/science.aan8433 
Journal reference: Science [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Pennsylvania
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
(12-29-2015, 04:47 PM)EA Wrote: This thread is to discuss and update our knowledge on the origins of mankind.

The fascinating subject of our origins has recently been populated with anomalous new hominid species.

Living literally alongside us yet now they all seem gone.

So much new information has arisen that itz time for a total update for 2016. 2017

What we learned in school can for the most part either be used as a general frame-work and set of loose guidelines or just go ahead and toss all that bull-shit in the trash and just start fresh here.

Not only just the origin of species but the Truth about who was who and who wasn't when using DNA as the standard.


DNA Arrow  is the true way.
prescient.
Quote:Herbert Lutz: It's completely new to science, and it is a big surprise because nobody had expected such a tremendous, extremely rare discovery. To find a completely new species? Nobody expected that.
Arrow  9.7-million-year-old teeth discovery in Germany could re-write human history  LilD


Gabriel Borrud, Deutsche WellePublished 11:10 a.m. ET Oct. 21, 2017 | Updated 1:52 p.m. ET Oct. 21, 2017
[Image: 636441811575604579-Screen-Shot-2017-10-2....15-AM.jpg]
HL: It's perfectly preserved. It actually looks like a new excellent tooth; however, it's no longer white. It's shining like amber.(Photo: Deutsche Welle)

The great ape teeth found in Eppelsheim last year could topple the understanding of our earliest history. Herbert Lutz, head of the excavation team, tells Deutsche Welle what the find means to him — and how it almost didn’t happen.
A little over a year ago, a team of archaeologists in southwestern Germany uncovered two teeth where the Rhine River used to flow, in the town of Eppelsheim near Mainz. 
The news of the discovery was announced this week, because the team that performed the excavation wanted to make sure that what they had found was as significant as they initially thought.
Herbert Lutz heads that team at the Natural History Museum in Mainz.
Herbert Lutz: It's completely new to science, and it is a big surprise because nobody had expected such a tremendous, extremely rare discovery. To find a completely new species? Nobody expected that.
Deutsche Welle (DW)Why were you looking at this precise location?
HL: We were excavating riverbed sediments of the proto-Rhine River near Eppelsheim. These sediments are approximately 10 million years old and are well known in science, ever since the first fossils were excavated here in the early 19th century.
DW: And how old are the teeth you've found?
HL: Around 9.7 million years old.
DW: What does a 9.7-million-year-old tooth look like?
HL: It's perfectly preserved. It actually looks like a new excellent tooth; however, it's no longer white. It's shining like amber.

DW:No less has been said about this tooth than that the history of mankind now has to be rewritten…
HL: Well you know it's a question that's been discussed for decades. New discoveries lead to new insights that may contribute to our knowledge about our own history, and this finding has that potential because the great ape species has a relationship to Homo sapiens.
DW: So what's the big groundbreaking knowledge here?
HL: The groundbreaking knowledge is that we have comparable finds only in East Africa. And these are much, much younger. These species are well known as Ardi and Lucy, and their canines look very similar to the one here from Eppelsheim, but they are only two, three, four or five million years old, and Eppelsheim is almost 10. So the question is: What has happened?

DW: You mean - how this great ape got up to the Rhine valley, or whether the species in Africa came from Europe?
HL: Yeah, we have similar species in Africa, but we don't know where this great ape came from. We do not have comparable finds from southern Europe, even from in between maybe Greece or Turkey. From there, we know of great ape fossils, but they all look much different. And so it's a great mystery.
DW: So this is the lone Rhineland monkey whose teeth have been found. Can the general public see the discovery?
HL: Until Sunday, yes, they are in our exhibition in the museum in Mainz. And most likely about mid November they will be on display in a great exhibition in the Landesmuseum in Mainz.
DW: Professor Lutz, can you give us a sense of how important this finding was to you personally?
HL: Well, we've been digging at this site for 17 years now. And when we started, of course everybody knew it had the potential to yield hominoid fossils. We were always waiting for such a find. But at the end of 2016, we decided to finish the excavation and just in the last second, if you will, these two teeth came to light. We really weren't expecting such a tremendous discovery. So for us now it's clear we have to continue, and we will continue. And, well, I think it's a big luck to experience such an exciting story. I did not expect it.
Professor Herbert Lutz is deputy director of the Natural History Museum in Mainz. His focus is geological and paleontological excavation.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/10/21/9-7-million-year-old-teeth-discovery-germany-could-re-write-human-history/787140001/
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
...the garden

Quote:Demonstrating that crops were being gathered to the extent of being pushed towards domestication up to thirty thousand years ago proves the existence of dense populations of people at this time.
Professor Robin Allaby commented:
"This study changes the nature of the debate about the origins of agriculture, showing that very long term natural processes seem to lead to domestication - putting us on a par with the natural world, where we have species like ants that have domesticated fungi, for instance."


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-crops-evolved-millennia-earlier-thought.html#jCp

What we learned in school can for the most part either be used as a general frame-work and set of loose guidelines or just go ahead and toss all that bull-shit in the trash and just start fresh here.
Crops evolved 10 millennia earlier than thought  Doh
October 23, 2017

[Image: cropsevolved.jpg]
Credit: University of Warwick
Ancient hunter-gatherers began to systemically affect the evolution of crops up to thirty thousand years ago – around ten millennia before experts previously thought – according to new research by the University of Warwick.



Professor Robin Allaby, in Warwick's School of Life Sciences, has discovered that human crop gathering was so extensive, as long ago as the last Ice Age, that it started to have an effect on the evolution of rice, wheat and barley - triggering the process which turned these plants from wild to domesticated.
In Tell Qaramel, an area of modern day northern Syria, the research demonstrates evidence of einkorn being affected up to thirty thousand years ago, and rice has been shown to be affected more than thirteen thousand years ago in South, East and South-East Asia.
Furthermore, emmer wheat is proved to have been affected twenty-five thousand years ago in the Southern Levant – and barley in the same geographical region over twenty-one thousand years ago.
The researchers traced the timeline of crop evolution in these areas by analysing the evolving gene frequencies of archaeologically uncovered plant remains.
Wild plants contain a gene which enables them to spread or shatter their seeds widely. When a plant begins to be gathered on a large scale, human activity alters its evolution, changing this gene and causing the plant to retain its seeds instead of spreading them – thus adapting it to the human environment, and eventually agriculture.
Professor Allaby and his colleagues made calculations from archaeobotanical remains of crops mentioned above that contained 'non-shattering' genes - the genes which caused them to retain their seeds – and found that human gathering had already started to alter their evolution millennia before previously accepted dates.
The study shows that crop plants adapted to domestication exponentially around eight thousand years ago, with the emergence of sickle farming technology, but also that selection changed over time. It pinpoints the origins of the selective pressures leading to crop domestication much earlier, and in geological eras considered inhospitable to farming.
Demonstrating that crops were being gathered to the extent of being pushed towards domestication up to thirty thousand years ago proves the existence of dense populations of people at this time.
Professor Robin Allaby commented:
"This study changes the nature of the debate about the origins of agriculture, showing that very long term natural processes seem to lead to domestication - putting us on a par with the natural world, where we have species like ants that have domesticated fungi, for instance."
The research, "Geographic mosaics and changing rates of cereal domestication," is published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Why did hunter-gatherers first begin farming?
More information: Geographic mosaics and changing rates of cereal domestication. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society BDOI: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0429 
Journal reference: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B[Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Warwic



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-crops-evolved-millennia-earlier-thought.html#jCp[/url]

...of mankind.

Jeeze!!! itz kinda like Brutish dragging wenches by their hair to make a new heir in a cave sum-where is mere mythiNeanderthals were kind to their fellow basic humanzee???

 
Quote:"The debilities of Shanidar 1, and especially his hearing loss, thereby reinforce the basic humanity of these much maligned archaic humans, the Neandertals," said Trinkaus, the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor.

Read more at: 
https://phys.org/news/2017-10-older-neandertal-survived-friends.html#jCp


Older Neandertal survived with a little help from his friends
October 23, 2017

[Image: olderneander.jpg]
The skull of a Neandertal known as Shanidar 1 shows signs of a blow to the head received at an early age. Credit: Erik Trinkaus
An older Neandertal from about 50,000 years ago, who had suffered multiple injuries and other degenerations, became deaf and must have relied on the help of others to avoid prey and survive well into his 40s, indicates a new analysis published Oct. 20 in the online journal PLoS ONE.



"More than his loss of a forearm, bad limp and other injuries, his deafness would have made him easy prey for the ubiquitous carnivores in his environment and dependent on other members of his social group for survival," said Erik Trinkaus, study co-author and professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
Known as Shanidar 1, the Neandertal remains were discovered in 1957 during excavations at Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan by Ralph Solecki, an American archeologist and professor emeritus at Columbia University.
Previous studies of the Shanidar 1 skull and other skeletal remains had noted his multiple injuries. He sustained a serious blow to the side of the face, fractures and the eventual amputation of the right arm at the elbow, and injuries to the right leg, as well as a systematic degenerative condition.
In a new analysis of the remains, Trinkaus and Sébastien Villotte of the French National Centre for Scientific Research confirm that bony growths in Shanidar 1's ear canals would have produced profound hearing loss. In addition to his other debilitations, this sensory deprivation would have made him highly vulnerable in his Pleistocene context.
[Image: 1-olderneander.jpg]
Two views of the ear canal of the Neandertal fossil Shanidar 1 show substantial deformities that would likely have caused profound deafness. Credit: Erik Trinkaus
As the co-authors note, survival as a hunter-gatherer in the Pleistocene presented numerous challenges, and all of those difficulties would have been markedly pronounced with sensory impairment. Like other Neandertals who have been noted for surviving with various injuries and limited arm use, Shanidar 1 most likely required significant social support to reach old age.
"The debilities of Shanidar 1, and especially his hearing loss, thereby reinforce the basic humanity of these much maligned archaic humans, the Neandertals," said Trinkaus, the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: The Emerging Fate Of The Neandertals
More information: Erik Trinkaus et al. External auditory exostoses and hearing loss in the Shanidar 1 Neandertal, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186684 
Journal reference: PLoS ONE [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Washington University in St. Louis



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-older-nean...s.html#jCp

Demonstrating that [url=https://phys.org/tags/crops/]crops were being gathered to the extent of being pushed towards domestication up to thirty thousand years ago proves the existence of dense populations of people at this time.

I dig this thread!  

Itza re: rite / rewrite TM
Reply
...

great posts!


Quote:Ancient hunter-gatherers began to systemically affect the evolution of crops 

up to thirty thousand years ago – 

around ten millennia before experts previously thought – 

according to new research by the University of Warwick.


man oh man ... that is a whopping realignment of "scientific evidence"  Doh

looks like the prior evidence was next to useless after all Hmm2

just like most NASA science that determines which space missions do what Whip

around ten millennia before experts previously thought – 

Rofl

there is a Stu-ism somewhere in all that ...

How many craters does Stu Robbins have to count on average every day?
Too many.
Stu agrees.
He doesn't get paid enough to make a difference.
His evidence was useless before the crater count, and useless after the crater count.

He is like Jethro Bodine of the Beverly Hillbillies on Mars:

Golly Uncle Jed, I can count craters on Mars!

[Image: jethro.jpg]


Reefer

...
Reply
man oh man ... that is a whopping realignment of "scientific evidence"  -Vianova
More wine? Eye mean whopping realign
Genomic study reveals clues to wild past of grapes
November 2, 2017

[Image: genomicstudy.jpg]
"The data indicate that humans gathered grapes in the wild for centuries before cultivating them," says study co-leader Brandon Gaut, UCI professor of ecology & evolutionary biology. The research also revealed key genetic alterations during domestication that are still evident today in the fruit, such as these grenache grapes grown in Southern France. Credit: Brandon Gaut / UCI
About 22,000 years ago, as the ice sheets that consumed much of North America and Europe began retreating, humans started to consume a fruit that today brings joy to millions of wine drinkers around the world: grapes.



That's what University of California, Irvine evolutionary biologist Brandon Gaut and UC Davis plant biologist Dario Cantu believe occurred. They compared the sequenced genomes of wild and domesticated Eurasian grapes and found evidence that people may have been eating grapes as many as 15,000 years before they domesticated the fruit as an agricultural crop.
"Like most plants, grapes are typically considered to have been cultivated around 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, but our work suggests that human involvement with grapes may precede these dates," Gaut said. "The data indicate that humans gathered grapes in the wild for centuries before cultivating them. If we are right, it adds to a small but growing set of examples that humans had big effects on ecosystems prior to the onset of organized agriculture."
The study appears online in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.
Today grapes are the most economically important horticultural crop in the world, but in reviewing the evolutionary data, the scientists found that populations of the fruit steadily decreased until the period of domestication, when grapes began to be grown and harvested for wine. The long decline could reflect unknown natural processes, or it may mean that humans began managing natural populations long before they were actually domesticated.
Gaut said the study data also suggest that the altering of several important genes during domestication was a key turning point for the fruit. These genes included some involved in sex determination and others related primarily to the production of sugar. These changes helped define grapes as we know them today and probably contributed to the spreading of the crop throughout the ancient world.
In addition, the researchers discovered that modern grape genomes contain more potentially harmful mutations than did the fruit's wild ancestors. These accumulate due to clonal propagation, which is reproduction by multiplication of genetically identical copies of individual plants. Grapes have been reproduced by clonal propagation for centuries, as it allows genetically identical cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay varieties, for example, to be grown around the globe. The identification of these potentially harmful mutations may prove useful to grape breeders.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers create definitive method to detect wildfire tainted wine grapes
More information: Yongfeng Zhou et al. Evolutionary genomics of grape (Vitis viniferassp.vinifera) domestication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1709257114 
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences[Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of California, Irvine



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-genomic-reveals-clues-wild-grapes.html#jCp[/url]


How Neanderthals influenced human genetics at the crossroads of Asia and Europe
October 24, 2017

[Image: 1-howneanderth.jpg]
Western Asia. A new study examines the DNA that modern human populations in this region inherited from Neanderthals. The area holds a unique position in the story of human history: It may be where the ancestors of modern humans first interbred with Neanderthals. Credit: Keepscases, via Wikimedia Commons
When the ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa, they passed through the Middle East and Turkey before heading deeper into Asia and Europe.



Here, at this important crossroads, it's thought that they encountered and had sexual rendezvous with a different hominid species: the Neanderthals. Genomic evidence shows that this ancient interbreeding occurred, and Western Asia is the most likely spot where it happened.
A new study explores the legacy of these interspecies trysts, with a focus on Western Asia, where the first relations may have occurred. The research, published on Oct. 13 in Genome Biology and Evolution, analyzes the genetic material of people living in the region today, identifying DNA sequences inherited from Neanderthals.
"As far as human history goes, this area was the stepping stone for the peopling of all of Eurasia," says Omer Gokcumen, PhD, an assistant professor of 
biological sciences in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. "This is where humans first settled when they left Africa. It may be where they first met Neanderthals. From the standpoint of genetics, it's a very interesting region."
The study focused on Western Asia. As part of the project, scientists analyzed 16 genomes belonging to people of Turkish descent.
"Within these genomes, the areas where we see relatively common Neanderthal introgression are in genes related to metabolism and immune system responses," says Recep Ozgur Taskent, the study's first author and a UB PhD candidate in biological sciences. "Broadly speaking, these are functions that can have an impact on health."
For example, one DNA sequence that originated from Neanderthals includes a genetic variant linked to celiac disease. Another includes a variant tied to a lowered risk for malaria.
The bottom line? The relations that our ancestors had with Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago may continue to exert an influence on our well-being today, Gokcumen says.
He led the study with Taskent and Mehmet Somel, PhD, from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Co-authors included Nursen Duha Alioglu and Evrim Fer from the Middle East Technical University, and Handan Melike Donertas from the Middle East Technical University and European Bioinformatics Institute.


Early contact with Neanderthals, but relatively little Neanderthal DNA
In addition to exploring the specific functions of genetic material that the Turkish population inherited from Neanderthals, the study also examined the Neanderthals' influence on human populations in Western Asia more broadly.
The region is thought to be where modern humans first interbred with their Neanderthal kin. And yet, research has shown that people living in this area today have relatively little Neanderthal DNA compared to people in other parts of the world.
The new study supports this finding. The research team analyzed genomic data from dozens of Western Asian individuals, and observed that, on average, with a few exceptions, these populations carry less Neanderthal DNA than Europeans, Central Asians and East Asians.
The differences in Neanderthal ancestry between Western Asian and other populations may be due to the region's unique position in human history, Taskent says.
Tens of thousands of years ago, when modern humans first left Africa to populate the rest of the world, Western Asia was the first stopping point—the only land-based route for accessing the rest of Eurasia.
People who live in Europe, Central Asia and East Asia today may be descended from human populations that treated Western Asia as a waystation: These human populations lived there temporarily, mating with the region's Neanderthals before moving on to other destinations.
In contrast, the ancestors of present-day Western Asians had a deeper connection to the region: They settled in Western Asia instead of just passing through. These ancient humans had contact with Neanderthals, too, but two factors may have diluted the Neanderthals' influence.
The first was a constant influx of genetic material from ancient Africans, who had no Neanderthal DNA and who continued to pass through Western Asia for thousands of years as human societies grew in Europe and Asia. The second was the hypothesized presence of a "basal Eurasian" population—a population of Western Asians that never interbred with Neanderthals.
"Both of these factors may have helped to limit the amount of Neanderthal DNA that was retained by human populations in the region," Taskent says.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Long ago humans and Neanderthals Interbred: What happened to Neanderthal genes?
More information: Recep Ozgur Taskent et al, Variation and functional impact of Neanderthal ancestry in Western Asia, Genome Biology and Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evx216 
Provided by: University at Buffalo


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-neandertha...a.html#jCp




Slow flow of human immigration may have doomed Neanderthals
October 31, 2017 by Malcolm Ritter

[Image: slowflowofhu.jpg]
In this Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, visitors take pictures of models representing Flores, human and Neanderthal women in the "Musee des Confluences", a new science and anthropology museum in Lyon, central France. Neanderthals had a long run in Europe and Asia, but they disappeared about 40,000 years ago after modern humans showed up from Africa. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
What killed off the Neanderthals? It's a big debate, and now a study says that no matter what the answer, they were doomed anyway.



Our close evolutionary cousins enjoyed a long run in Europe and Asia, but they disappeared about 40,000 years ago after modern humans showed up from Africa.
The search for an explanation has produced many theories including climate change, epidemics, or inability to compete with the modern humans, who may have had some mental or cultural edge.
The new study isn't intended to argue against those factors, but just to show that they're not needed to explain the extinction, says Oren Kolodny of Stanford University.
He and colleague Marcus Feldman present their approach in a paper released Tuesday by the journal Nature Communications.
They based their conclusion on a computer simulation that represented small bands of Neanderthals and modern humans in Europe and Asia. These local populations were randomly chosen to go extinct, and then be replaced by another randomly chosen population, with no regard for whether it represented the same species.
Neither species was assumed to have any inherent advantage, but there was one crucial difference: Unlike the Neanderthals, the modern humans were supplemented by reinforcements coming in from Africa. It wasn't a huge wave, but rather "a tiny, tiny trickle of small bands," Kolodny said.
Still, that was enough to tip the balance against the Neanderthals. They generally went extinct when the simulation was run more than a million times under a variety of assumptions.
If survival was a game of chance, "it was rigged by the fact that there's recurring migration," Kolodny said. "The game was doomed to end with the Neanderthals losing."
Kolodny said the evidence that such migrations actually occurred is suggestive rather than conclusive. Such migrations would not be expected to leave much of an archaeological trace, he said.
Experts in human origins said the paper could help scientists pin down the various factors that led to the Neanderthals' demise. It fits in with other recent attempts to explain the extinction without assuming behavioral differences between Neanderthals and our ancestors, said Wil Roebroeks of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. The notion of such differences is largely disproven, he said.
Katerina Harvati of the University of Tuebingen in Germany said while the new work could be useful in solving the extinction mystery, it doesn't address the question of why modern humans dispersed from Africa into Europe and Asia. It's important to figure out what was behind that, she said in an email.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: How Neanderthals influenced human genetics at the crossroads of Asia and Europe
More information: Oren Kolodny et al. A parsimonious neutral model suggests Neanderthal replacement was determined by migration and random species drift, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01043-z 
Journal reference: Nature Communications


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-10-human-immigration-doomed-neanderthals.html#jCp





Anthropologist group suggests first humans to the Americas arrived via the kelp highway

November 3, 2017 by Bob Yirka report



[Image: 59fc63d2195e8.jpg]
Recent archaeological finds show that pre-Clovis people arrived in the Americas before 13,500 years ago, likely via a coastal route along the Pacific Coast. Higher sea levels make finding direct evidence difficult. Credit: © J. YOU AND N. CARY Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5473
(Phys.org)—A team of anthropologists from several institutions in the U.S. has offered a Perspective piece in the journal Science outlining current theories regarding the first humans to populate the Americas. In their paper, they scrap the conventional view that Clovis people making their way across a Bering land bridge were the first to arrive in the Americas—more recent evidence suggests others arrived far earlier, likely using boats to travel just offshore.





As the authors note, for most of the last century, the accepted theory of humans' first arrival was via the land bridge in what is now the Bering Strait—at the time, sea levels would have been much lower. Those early settlers, named the Clovis people, were theorized to have traveled down a central ice-free corridor into what is now the U.S. approximately 13,500 years ago. But, as the authors also note, evidence since the late 1980s has shown that there were people living in parts of the Americas long before the time of the Clovis migration. Archaeological evidence of people living on islands off of Asia and on the North and South American coasts (some as far south as Chile) has been found going as far back as 14,000 to 18,000 years ago. Evidence has also been found of people living in the North American interior as far back as 16,000 years ago.
All this new evidence, the authors report, has caused most experts in the field to abandon the idea of the Clovis people as the first to arrive. Most now believe that the first people to arrive did so by boat rather than walking, and they did it by following the coasts, not through the interior. This would have been possible, the authors note, because of what has come to be known as the kelp highway—kelp forests growing just offshore. All that kelp, it has been noted, would have provided a rich habitat for sea creatures upon which hearty travelers could feast.
The authors conclude by noting that too little research has been done offshore—the early travelers would have been residing mostly on land that is now covered by the sea due to higher worldwide ocean levels. If the scientific community truly wants to learn more about human migration to the Americas, they suggest, more work needs to be done offshore.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: New evidence -- Clovis people not first to populate North America
More information: Todd J. Braje et al. Finding the first Americans, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5473
Summary 
For much of the 20th century, most archaeologists believed humans first colonized the Americas ∼13,500 years ago via an overland route that crossed Beringia and followed a long and narrow, mostly ice-free corridor to the vast plains of central North America. There, Clovis people and their descendants hunted large game and spread rapidly through the New World. Twentieth-century discoveries of distinctive Clovis artifacts throughout North America, some associated with mammoth or mastodon kill sites, supported this "Clovis-first" model. North America's coastlines and their rich marine, estuarine, riverine, and terrestrial ecosystems were peripheral to the story of how and when the Americas were first settled by humans. Recent work along the Pacific coastlines of North and South America has revealed that these environments were settled early and continuously provided a rich diversity of subsistence options and technological resources for New World hunter-gatherers. 

Journal reference: Science


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-anthropolo...p.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-11-anthropologist-group-humans-americas-kelp.html#jCp]
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Man's earliest ancestors discovered in southern England
November 7, 2017

[Image: 3-mansearliest.jpg]
A reconstruction of the mammals by palaeo-artist Dr Mark Witton. Credit: University of Portsmouth
Fossils of the oldest mammals related to mankind have been discovered on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset.



The two teeth are from small, rat-like creatures that lived 145 million years ago in the shadow of the dinosaurs. They are the earliest undisputed fossils of mammals belonging to the line that led to human beings.
They are also the ancestors to most mammals alive today, including creatures as diverse as the Blue Whale and the Pigmy Shrew. The findings are published today in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, in a paper by Dr Steve Sweetman, Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, and co-authors from the same university.
Dr Sweetman, whose primary research interest concerns all the small vertebrates that lived with the dinosaurs, identified the teeth but it was University of Portsmouth undergraduate student Grant Smith who made the discovery.
Dr Sweetman said, "Grant was sifting through small samples of earliest Cretaceous rocks collected on the coast of Dorset as part of his undergraduate dissertation project in the hope of finding some interesting remains. Quite unexpectedly he found not one but two quite remarkable teeth of a type never before seen from rocks of this age. I was asked to look at them and give an opinion and even at first glance my jaw dropped."
"The teeth are of a type so highly evolved that I realised straight away I was looking at remains of Early Cretaceous mammals that more closely resembled those that lived during the latest Cretaceous – some 60 million years later in geological history. In the world of palaeontology there has been a lot of debate around a specimen found in China, which is approximately 160 million years old. This was originally said to be of the same type as ours but recent studies have ruled this out. That being the case, our 145 million year old teeth are undoubtedly the earliest yet known from the line of mammals that lead to our own species."

Credit: University of Portsmouth
Dr Sweetman believes the mammals were small, furry creatures and most likely nocturnal. One, a possible burrower, probably ate insects and the larger may have eaten plants as well. He said: "The teeth are of a highly advanced type that can pierce, cut and crush food. They are also very worn which suggests the animals to which they belonged lived to a good age for their species. No mean feat when you're sharing your habitat with predatory dinosaurs."


The teeth were recovered from rocks exposed in cliffs near Swanage which has given up thousands of iconic fossils. Grant, now reading for his Master's degree at The University of Portsmouth, said that he knew he was looking at something mammalian but didn't realise he had discovered something quite so special. His supervisor, Dave Martill, Professor of Palaeobiology, confirmed that they were mammalian, but suggested Dr Sweetman, a mammal expert should see them.
Professor Martill said: "We looked at them with a microscope but despite over 30 years experience, these teeth looked very different, and we decided we needed to bring in a third pair of eyes and more expertise in the field in the form of our colleague, Dr Sweetman.
[Image: mansearliest.jpg]
The teeth under an electron microscope. Credit: University of Portsmouth
"Steve made the connection immediately, but what I'm most pleased about is that a student who is a complete beginner was able to make a remarkable scientific discovery in palaeontology and see his discovery and his name published in a scientific paper. The Jurassic Coast is always unveiling fresh secrets and I'd like to think that similar discoveries will continue to be made right on our doorstep."
One of the new species has been named Durlstotherium newmani, christened after Charlie Newman, the landlord of the Square and Compass pub in Worth Matravers, close to where the fossils were discovered.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Mammal-like reptile survived much longer than thought
More information: Steven Sweetman et al. Highly derived eutherian mammals from the earliest Cretaceous of southern Britain, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (2017). DOI: 10.4202/app.00408.2017 
Journal reference: Acta Palaeontologica Polonica [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Portsmouth



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-earliest-a...d.html#jCp[/url][url=https://phys.org/news/2017-11-earliest-ancestors-southern-england.html#jCp]
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DNA study shows Neolithic Europeans interbred with Anatolian migrants
November 9, 2017 by Bob Yirka report

[Image: 5a04441d72e7d.jpg]
An Early Neolithic grave from Bátaszék (Hungary), which was also part of the DNA analyses. Credit: Anett Osztás
(Phys.org)—A large international team of researchers has found that Neolithic hunter-gatherers living in several parts of Europe interbred with farmers from the Near East. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the team describes comparing DNA from several early groups in Europe and evidence of interbreeding.



The Neolithic period, often described as the New Stone Age, was a period of human history from approximately 15,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE. It was a time defined by the development of settlements and the refinement of tools and the arts. Prior research has shown that people living in what is now Germany, Hungary and Spain were mostly hunter-gatherers during the early Neolithic period, but were "replaced" by farmers moving in from the Near East (Anatolia). In this new effort, the researchers suggest that interbreeding between the two groups led to the decline of the hunter-gatherers. The end result is that most modern Europeans are descended from the Near East immigrant farmers, but have remnants of hunter-gatherer DNA.
To learn more about the early history of humans in Europe, the researchers obtained and analyzed 180 DNA samples of people from early Hungary, Germany and Spain dating from between 6,000 and 2,200 BCE. They used data from the DNA analysis to create a mathematical model, which was used to build a simulation of population interactions in the areas of study.
[Image: 5a04442e5133b.jpg]
Sampling of petrous bone from a human skull. Credit: Balázs G. Mende
The researchers found that there was a lot more breeding going on between the two groups than has been thought. They found that as the farmers moved in, interbreeding began almost immediately. It continued for approximately the next several hundred years at all of the sites under study, though the team reports a more rapid pace in Spain and Germany than in Hungary.
The researchers note that their findings make sense logically, as well—it would seem far more likely that contact between the two groups would result in interbreeding, rather than one group simply out-reproducing the other to the point that the original group simply disappeared.
[Image: 5a04443f24450.jpg]
Middle Neolithic Collective grave of La Mina, Spain, excavation situation Credit: Manolo Rojo Guerra

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Cave Els Trocs in the Spanish pyrenees with Early Neolithic burials, discussion between members of the excavation group. Credit: Kurt Werner Alt
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Geographic locations of the samples analyzed in the study "Parallel palaeogenomic transects reveal complex genetic history of early European farmers" with a close-up of Hungary (based on figure 1a-b from Nature, Lipson/Szécsényi-Nagy et al. 2017, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature24476). Credit: Nature, Lipson/Szécsényi-Nagy et al. 2017.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Ancient DNA evidence shows hunter-gatherers and farmers were intimately linked
More information: Mark Lipson et al. Parallel palaeogenomic transects reveal complex genetic history of early European farmers, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature24476
Abstract 
Ancient DNA studies have established that Neolithic European populations were descended from Anatolian migrants who received a limited amount of admixture from resident hunter-gatherers. Many open questions remain, however, about the spatial and temporal dynamics of population interactions and admixture during the Neolithic period. Here we investigate the population dynamics of Neolithization across Europe using a high-resolution genome-wide ancient DNA dataset with a total of 180 samples, of which 130 are newly reported here, from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods of Hungary (6000–2900 BC, n = 100), Germany (5500–3000 BC, n = 42) and Spain (5500–2200 BC, n = 38). We find that genetic diversity was shaped predominantly by local processes, with varied sources and proportions of hunter-gatherer ancestry among the three regions and through time. Admixture between groups with different ancestry profiles was pervasive and resulted in observable population transformation across almost all cultural transitions. Our results shed new light on the ways in which gene flow reshaped European populations throughout the Neolithic period and demonstrate the potential of time-series-based sampling and modelling approaches to elucidate multiple dimensions of historical population interactions.

Press release 
Journal reference:Nature


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-dna-neolit...n.html#jCp[/url]





Chinese archaeologists discover cave-dwelling agrarian society

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-05 14:02:17|Editor: Zhou Xin

[url=http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/05/c_136729373.htm#]







[Image: 136729373_15098899678471n.jpg]
 

Photo taken on Nov. 5, 2017 shows the stone arrowheads found in Nanshan ruins, southeast China's Fujian Province. Chinese archaeologists have found a large amount of carbonized rice grains in caves dating from the New Stone Age, challenging the conventional view that cave dwellers were solely hunter gathers and did not cultivate land for food. (Xinhua/Li He)
FUZHOU, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have found a large amount of carbonized rice grains in caves dating from the New Stone Age, challenging the conventional view that cave dwellers were solely hunter gathers and did not cultivate land for food.
More than 10,000 grains were discovered at the No. 4 cave in the Nanshan ruins in east China's Fujian Province, which dates back 5,300 to 4,300 years.
At an ongoing international conference on prehistoric archaeology being held in Fujian, the archaeological team announced that this is the first cave-dwelling agrarian society ever found in China.
The finding is also rare worldwide, said Zhao Zhijun, a member of the team and also from the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

[Image: 136729373_15098899678531n.jpg]

The grains are believed to have been grown by the Nanshan cave dwellers, rather than being obtained by other means, because many farmland weeds were also found along with the grains, according to Zhao.
The team's studies on the remains of the cave-dwellers showed that they suffered dental cavities and other oral diseases that are common among humans in agrarian societies, said Wang Minghui, another team member and researcher with the institute.
"It further proves that Nanshan residents mastered some agricultural techniques," Wang said.
The finding has raised the question why the Nanshan ancestors continued to live in caves after beginning farming. It is traditionally believed that humans in agrarian societies would move from caves to more spacious homes due to explosive population growth.
"The Nanshan finding offers a new perspective for prehistoric study. We must consider more possibilities when talking about where our ancestors lived and what they lived on," Zhao said.

[Image: 136729373_15098899678501n.jpg]
Excavation of the Nanshan ruins started in 2012. Scores of caves, thousands of items made from pottery, stone and bones, as well as eight tombs and two reservoirs, have been found at the site.


[Image: 136729373_15098899678591n.jpg]
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...


Quote:The researchers found that there was a lot more breeding going on between the two groups than has been thought. 

They found that as the farmers moved in, 
interbreeding began almost immediately. Dance2

It continued for approximately the next several hundred years at all of the sites under study



gee whiz jiz ... when a group of well fed farmers moves in to your valley,
with all their robust big tittie young daughters,
7000 years ago or so,
those new girls are now Valley Girls,
ripe for impregnation.

interbreeding began almost immediately

I bet.
It was a quick hunt and gather for the local huntsmen.

...
Reply
Genome of wheat ancestor sequenced
November 15, 2017

[Image: 1-genomeofwhea.jpg]
Aegilops tauschii, a type of goatgrass and a wild ancestor of bread wheat. Credit: (Patrick McGuire / UC Davis)
Sequencing the bread wheat genome has long been considered an almost insurmountable task, due to its enormous size and complexity. Yet it is vitally important for the global food supply, providing more than 20 percent of the calories and 23 percent of the protein consumed by humans.



Now, an international team of scientists led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, has come a step closer to solving the puzzle by sequencing the genome of a wild ancestor of bread wheat known as Aegilops tauschii, a type of goatgrass.
In the study, published Nov. 15 in the journal Nature, researchers applied a combination of advanced technologies to generate a reference-quality genome sequence for Ae. tauschii, which is highly adaptable and tolerant of diseases. It is also the primary source of genes for the bread-making properties of wheat flour.
The findings will allow researchers to discover new genes that can improve wheat baking quality, resistance to diseases, and tolerance to extreme environmental conditions like frost, drought and salinity.
The effort has already had one practical result: the discovery of two new genes for resistance to a race of wheat stem rust to which there is virtually no resistance in wheat. The genes were transferred from Ae. tauschii into wheat and are now available to wheat breeders.
Piecing together the puzzle
Wheat and its wild ancestors have genomes much larger than humans, which makes sequencing difficult.
"When we started this project nearly two decades ago, there was no technology to sequence genomes of that size and complexity," said Jan Dvorak, a leader of the project and professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. "This group of plants are unique because their genomes are just absolutely full of repeated sequences. We found more than 84 percent of the Ae. tauschii genome consists of closely related repeated sequences."
Dvorak describes the project as like tearing up pages of a thick book and trying to piece it back together. "Only imagine that every sentence on the page is nearly identical. That was our task," said Dvorak.
The technologies used by the researchers can be applied to any plant genome, so the implications extend beyond wheat.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Scientists help deliver genetic one-two blow to deadly wheat disease
More information: Ming-Cheng Luo et al, Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature24486 
Journal reference: Nature [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: UC Davis



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-genome-wheat-ancestor-sequenced.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-11-genome-wheat-ancestor-sequenced.html#jCp][/url]
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...
the sublink in your article is very interesting

https://phys.org/news/2013-08-scientists...wheat.html
Scientists help deliver genetic one-two blow to deadly wheat disease
Quote:...reports the findings of another resistance gene, Sr35, 
which also confers immunity to wheat stem rust disease.

The research team, which included co-author Jan Dvorak, 
a professor and wheat geneticist at UC Davis, 
succeeded in cloning the Sr33 gene, 
known to exist in Aegilops tauschii, 
a wild relative of common bread wheat.

"We are hopeful that the Sr33 gene and the Sr35 gene, 
which our colleagues at UC Davis helped to isolate, 
can be 'pyramided,' or combined, Whip
to develop wheat varieties with robust and lasting resistance to wheat stem rust disease,"

The discovery of genes that confer resistance to wheat stem rust disease 
is vitally important for global food security, 
as a new, highly aggressive race of the fungus Hmm2
that causes wheat stem rust appeared about a decade ago in Africa 
and has been spreading from there. 

That new UG99 race, 
which causes rust-colored bumps to form on the stems and leaves of the wheat plants, 
threatens global wheat grain production.

Identification and cloning of resistance genes 

is expected to enable plant breeders to use traditional breeding techniques 
to develop new wheat varieties that will be resistant to the new strain of wheat stem rust disease, 
before it grows into a global pandemic.

...
Reply
Quote:"There is still a lot we do not know about human evolution and, especially, about the Neanderthals," said Dr. Zilhão. "Our textbook ideas about Neanderthals and modern humans have been mostly derived from finds in France, Germany and Central Europe, but during the Ice Ages these were peripheral areas: probably as much as half of the Paleolithic people who ever lived in Europe were Iberians. Ongoing research has begun to bear fruit, and I have no doubt that there is more to come."


Human evolution was uneven and punctuated

[Image: 171116132657_1_540x360.jpg]
Interior view of the cave and excavation trench as of the end of the 2012 field season.

Credit: João Zilhão

Neanderthals survived at least 3,000 years longer than we thought in Southern Iberia -- what is now Spain -- long after they had died out everywhere else, according to new research published in Heliyon.
The authors of the study, an international team from Portuguese, Spanish, Catalonian, German, Austrian and Italian research institutions, say their findings suggest that the process of modern human populations absorbing Neanderthal populations through interbreeding was not a regular, gradual wave-of-advance but a "stop-and-go, punctuated, geographically uneven history."
Over more than ten years of fieldwork, the researchers excavated three new sites in southern Spain, where they discovered evidence of distinctly Neanderthal materials dating until 37,000 years ago.
"Technology from the Middle Paleolithic in Europe is exclusively associated with the Neanderthals," said Dr. João Zilhão, from the University of Barcelona and lead author of the study. "In three new excavation sites, we found Neanderthal artefacts dated to thousands of years later than anywhere else in Western Europe. Even in the adjacent regions of northern Spain and southern France the latest Neanderthal sites are all significantly older."
The Middle Paleolithic was a part of the Stone Age, and it spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago. It is widely acknowledged that during this time, anatomically modern humans started to move out of Africa and assimilate coeval Eurasian populations, including Neanderthals, through interbreeding.
According to the new research, this process was not a straightforward, smooth one -- instead, it seems to have been punctuated, with different evolutionary patterns in different geographical regions.
In 2010, the team published evidence from the site of Cueva Antón in Spain that provided unambiguous evidence for symbolism among Neanderthals. Putting that evidence in context and using the latest radiometric techniques to date the site, the researchers show Cueva Antón is the most recent known Neanderthal site.
"We believe that the stop-and-go, punctuated, uneven mechanism we propose must have been the rule in human evolution, which helps explaining why Paleolithic material culture tends to form patterns of geographically extensive similarity while Paleolithic genomes tend to show complex ancestry patchworks," commented Dr. Zilhão.
The key to understanding this pattern, says Dr. Zilhão, lies in discovering and analyzing new sites, not in revisiting old ones. Although finding and excavating new sites with the latest techniques is time-consuming, he believes it is the approach that pays off.
"There is still a lot we do not know about human evolution and, especially, about the Neanderthals," said Dr. Zilhão. "Our textbook ideas about Neanderthals and modern humans have been mostly derived from finds in France, Germany and Central Europe, but during the Ice Ages these were peripheral areas: probably as much as half of the Paleolithic people who ever lived in Europe were Iberians. Ongoing research has begun to bear fruit, and I have no doubt that there is more to come."

Journal Reference:
  1. João Zilhão, Daniela Anesin, Thierry Aubry, Ernestina Badal, Dan Cabanes, Martin Kehl, Nicole Klasen, Armando Lucena, Ignacio Martín-Lerma, Susana Martínez, Henrique Matias, Davide Susini, Peter Steier, Eva Maria Wild, Diego E. Angelucci, Valentín Villaverde, Josefina Zapata. Precise dating of the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Murcia (Spain) supports late Neandertal persistence in Iberia. Heliyon, 2017; 3 (11): e00435 DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00435 
Elsevier. "Human evolution was uneven and punctuated: A new study in Heliyon suggests that Neanderthals survived at least 3,000 years longer in Spain than we thought." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171116132657.htm>
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Study suggests some population shifts during early and late Holocene were due to climate changes
November 21, 2017 by Bob Yirka report

[Image: 24-studysuggest.jpg]
Bronze bead necklace Stage: Holocene Bronze age 1800-1500 BC . Credit: Didier Descouens/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from University College London and the University of Plymouth, both in the U.K., has found evidence that suggests at least some of the population shifts that have occurred over the past several thousand years in Britain and Ireland were likely due to climate change rather than human activities. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes analyzing data from thousands of prior research efforts to create charts of population swings during the early and late Holocene, and then comparing what they found to climate research data from the same time periods.


Prior research has shown that there have been several population shifts in Britain and Ireland over the past several thousand years—populations tended to rise to a peak and then drop, presumably because of overtaxing resources, disease or warfare. But in this new effort, the researchers suggest that climatic changes may have been responsible for at least some of the population changes. To come to this conclusion, the team looked at data from prior research efforts that were focused on studying artifacts.
Radiocarbon dating was typically used on samples of bone, charred or waterlogged wood, and seeds found at excavations sites. The group used the data to create charts showing population changes over time. But they also broke the region into four categories: Southeast England, Northwest England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. By noting population changes between the regions, the group detected common patterns as well as patterns that were unique for each.
They suggest that when all of the regions experienced similar populations shifts, it was most likely due to an external factor, which, they further suggest, was likely climate change. They point out, as one example, that prior climate research indicates that there was a period of higher densities of salt in the Greenland Ice Sheet, which happened to coincide with one of the drops in population across Britain and Ireland. The researchers suggest that it was likely an increase in North Atlantic storms that led to the saltier ice, which in turn implied rainier weather across the region. That would have made growing crops more difficult, leading to less available food—and a subsequent drop in population.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Could the Neolithic revolution offer evidence of best ways to adapt to climate change?
More information: Andrew Bevan et al. Holocene fluctuations in human population demonstrate repeated links to food production and climate, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1709190114
Abstract 
We consider the long-term relationship between human demography, food production, and Holocene climate via an archaeological radiocarbon date series of unprecedented sampling density and detail. There is striking consistency in the inferred human population dynamics across different regions of Britain and Ireland during the middle and later Holocene. Major cross-regional population downturns in population coincide with episodes of more abrupt change in North Atlantic climate and witness societal responses in food procurement as visible in directly dated plants and animals, often with moves toward hardier cereals, increased pastoralism, and/or gathered resources. For the Neolithic, this evidence questions existing models of wholly endogenous demographic boom–bust. For the wider Holocene, it demonstrates that climate-related disruptions have been quasi-periodic drivers of societal and subsistence change. 




Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-population...e.html#jCp[/url]




Ancient barley took high road to China

November 21, 2017



[Image: ancientbarle.jpg]
The study confirms that ancient barley from central China contains mutations at the Ppd-H1 gene locus that switch off the photoperiod response. It also shows that extant barley landraces planted in China carry the genetic haplotype A, which infers that Chinese barley has a different genetic origin than the haplotype B barley that made its way to northern Europe. Credit: PLOS One
First domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, wheat and barley took vastly different routes to China, with barley switching from a winter to both a winter and summer crop during a thousand-year detour along the southern Tibetan Plateau, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.




"The eastern dispersals of wheat and barley were distinct in both space and time," said Xinyi Liu, assistant professor of archaeology in Arts & Sciences, and lead author of this study published in the journal PLOS One.
"Wheat was introduced to central China in the second or third millennium B.C., but barley did not arrive there until the first millennium B.C.," Liu said. "While previous research suggests wheat cultivation moved east along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, our study calls attention to the possibility of a southern route (via India and Tibet) for barley."
Based on the radiocarbon analysis of 70 ancient barley grains recovered from archaeological sites in China, India, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan, together with DNA and ancient textual evidence, the study tackles the mystery of why ancient Chinese farmers would change the seasonality of a barley crop that originated in a latitudinal range similar to their own.
The answer, Liu explains, is that barley changed from a winter to summer crop during its passage to China, a period in which it spent hundreds of years evolving traits that allowed it to thrive during short summer growing seasons in the highlands of Tibet and northern India.
"Barley arrives in central China later than wheat, bringing with it a degree of genetic diversity in relation to flowering time responses," Liu said. "We infer such diversity reflects preadaptation of barley varieties along that possible southern route to seasonal challenges, particularly the high altitude effect, and that led to the origins of eastern spring barley."
Liu's research on the dispersal of wheat and barley cultivation adds a new chapter to our understanding of prehistoric food globalization, a process that began about 5000 B.C. and intensified around 1500 B.C. This ongoing research traces the geographic paths and dispersal times of crops and cultivation systems that expanded across Eurasia and eventually worldwide, from points of origination in North Africa and West, East and South Asia. The eastern expansion of wheat and barley is a key story in this process.


In the hot, arid southwest Asian region where wheat and barley were first domesticated, they were grown between autumn and subsequent spring to complete their life cycles before arrival of summer droughts. These early domesticated strains included genes carried over from wild grasses that triggered flowering and grain production as days grew longer with the approach of summer.
[Image: 1-ancientbarle.jpg]
Map of Eurasia shows the oldest radiocarbon-measured dates (B.C.) for individual grains of barley recovered from each region. Wheat and barley arrived in South Asia about a millennium before they arrived in East Asia. Free-threshing wheats spread to China along a route to the north of the Tibetan Plateau. Naked barley is likely to have been introduced to China via southern highland routes that remain to be identified. Credit: PLOS One
Because of this spring-flowering life cycle, early domesticated varieties of wheat and barley were poorly suited for cultivation in northern European climates with severe winters and a different day length pattern. Previous research by the second author in this study, Diane Lister, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge, has shown that barley and wheat adapted to European climates by evolving a mutation that switched off the genes that made flowering sensitive to increases in day length, allowing them to be sown in spring and harvested in fall.
Liu's study shows that barley evolved similar mutations on its way to China as farmers pushed its cultivation high into the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau. By the time barley reached central China, its genetic makeup had been altered so that flowering was no longer triggered by day length, allowing it to be planted in both spring and fall.
The ancient movement of wheat and barley cultivation into China offers two distinct stories about the adaption of newly introduced crops into an existing agrarian/culinary system, Liu said.
Ancient wheat that traveled to China along Silk Road routes also was genetically modified by farmers who selected strains that produced small-sized grains more suited to a Chinese cuisine that prepared them by boiling or steaming the whole grains. Larger wheat grains evolved in Europe where wheat was traditionally ground for flour.
Along the southern migration route for barley, the main story is the flowering time—changed by farmers to gain control over the seasonal pressures of high-altitude cultivation, Liu said.
Recovery of these ancient grains has become more routine in the last decade as scholars mastered a flotation technique that allows the separation of seeds and other minute biological material from excavated dirt immersed in a bucket of water. This approach, pioneered in China by the third author of this study, Zhijun Zhao, a professor of archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has transformed the understanding of ancient farming in China.
The PLOS One findings reflect the contributions of 26 co-authors, including archaeologists who recovered the grains and those who analyzed them at leading archaeobotanical laboratories in the U.S., U.K., China and India. The team also includes leading experts for barley archaeogenetics, radiocarbon analysis and agricultural history around the globe.
"We've recently realized how much prehistoric crops moved around, on a scale much greater than anyone had envisaged," said senior co-author Martin Jones, the George Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science at Cambridge. "An intensive study of chronology, genetics and crop records now reveals how those movements laid the agrarian foundations of Bronze Age civilizations, enabling the control of seasons, and opening the way for rotation and multi-cropping."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Earliest evidence for a native African cultigen discovered in Eastern Sudan
More information: Xinyi Liu et al, Journey to the east: Diverse routes and variable flowering times for wheat and barley en route to prehistoric China, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187405 



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-ancient-barley-high-road-china.html#jCp




Earliest evidence of winemaking: Team discovers 8,000-year-old wine production in ancient Middle East

November 13, 2017



[Image: 41-archaeologis.jpg]
Base of Neolithic jar being prepared for sampling for residue analysis. Credit: Judyta Olszewski
Excavations in the Republic of Georgia by the Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition (GRAPE), a joint undertaking between the University of Toronto (U of T) and the Georgian National Museum, have uncovered evidence of the earliest winemaking anywhere in the world. The discovery dates the origin of the practice to the Neolithic period around 6000 BC, pushing it back 600-1,000 years from the previously accepted date.





The earliest previously known chemical evidence of wine dated to 5400-5000 BC and was from an area in the Zagros Mountains of Iran. Researchers now say the practice began hundreds of years earlier in the South Caucasus region on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Excavations have focused on two Early Ceramic Neolithic sites (6000-4500 BC) called Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora, approximately 50 kilometres south of the modern capital of Tbilisi. Pottery fragments of ceramic jars recovered from the sites were collected and subsequently analyzed by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania to ascertain the nature of the residue preserved inside for several millennia.
The newest methods of chemical extraction confirmed tartaric acid, the fingerprint compound for grape and wine as well as three associated organic acids - malic, succinic and citric - in the residue recovered from eight large jars. The findings are reported in a research study this week in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
"We believe this is the oldest example of the domestication of a wild-growing Eurasian grapevine solely for the production of wine," said Stephen Batiuk, a senior research associate in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and the Archaeology Centre at U of T, and co-author of the study published in PNAS.
[Image: 42-archaeologis.jpg]
A Neolithic jar -- possibly a Neolithic qvevri used for brewing wine -- from the site of Khramis Didi Gora, on display at the Georgian National Museum. Credit: Judyta Olszewski
"The domesticated version of the fruit has more than 10,000 varieties of table and wine grapes worldwide," said Batiuk. "Georgia is home to over 500 varieties for wine alone, suggesting that grapes have been domesticated and cross-breeding in the region for a very long time."
GRAPE represents the Canadian component of a larger international, interdisciplinary project involving researchers from the United States, Denmark, France, Italy and Israel. The sites excavated by the U of T and Georgian National Museum team are remnants of two villages that date back to the Neolithic period, which began around 15,200 BC in parts of the Middle East and ended between 4500 and 2000 BC in other parts of the world.
The Neolithic period is characterized by a package of activities that include the beginning of farming, the domestication of animals, the development of crafts such as pottery and weaving, and the making of polished stone tools.


"Pottery, which was ideal for processing, serving and storing fermented beverages, was invented in this period together with many advances in art, technology and cuisine," said Batiuk. "This methodology for identifying wine residues in pottery was initially developed and first tested on a vessel from the site of Godin Tepe in central western Iran, excavated more than 40 years ago by a team from the Royal Ontario Museum led by fellow U of T researcher T. Cuyler Young. So in many ways, this discovery brings my co-director Andrew Graham and I full circle back to the work of our professor Cuyler, who also provided some of the fundamental theories of the origins of agriculture in the Near East.
"In essence, what we are examining is how the Neolithic package of agricultural activity, tool-making and crafts that developed further south in modern Iraq, Syria and Turkey adapted as it was introduced into different regions with different climate and plant life," Batiuk said. "The horticultural potential of the south Caucasus was bound to lead to the domestication of many new and different species, and innovative 'secondary' products were bound to emerge."
[Image: 5a09b8a011015.jpg]
Drone photograph of excavations at Gadachrili Gora site in Repubilc of Georgia. Credit: Stephen Batiuk
The researchers say the combined archaeological, chemical, botanical, climatic and radiocarbon data provided by the analysis demonstrate that the Eurasian grapevine Vitis vinifera was abundant around the sites. It grew under ideal environmental conditions in early Neolithic times, similar to premium wine-producing regions in Italy and southern France today.
"Our research suggests that one of the primary adaptations of the Neolithic way of life as it spread to Caucasia was viniculture," says Batiuk. "The domestication of the grape apparently led eventually led to the emergence of a wine culture in the region."
Batiuk describes an ancient society in which the drinking and offering of wine penetrates and permeates nearly every aspect of life from medical practice to special celebrations, from birth to death, to everyday meals at which toasting is common.
"As a medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopeias, cuisines, economics, and society throughout the ancient Near East," he said.
Batiuk cites ancient viniculture as a prime example of human ingenuity in developing horticulture, and creative uses for its byproducts.
"The infinite range of flavors and aromas of today's 8,000-10,000 grape varieties are the end result of the domesticated Eurasian grapevine being transplanted and crossed with wild grapevines elsewhere over and over again," he said. "The Eurasian gravepine that now accounts for 99.9 per cent of wine made in the world today, has its roots in Caucasia."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: World's oldest Italian wine just discovered: Ancient pottery tests positive for wine
More information: Patrick McGovern el al., "Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus," PNAS (2017). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1714728114 


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-earliest-evidence-winemaking-team-year-old.html#jCp[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-11-earliest-evidence-winemaking-team-year-old.html#jCp]
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Archaeologists revise chronology of the last hunter-gatherers in the Near East
December 5, 2017


[Image: 48-archaeologis.jpg]
Archaeologists working at the Shubayqa 1 site. Credit: University of Copenhagen
New research by a team of scientists and archaeologists based at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of Copenhagen suggests that the 15,000-year-old Natufian Culture could live comfortably in the steppe zone of present-day eastern Jordan .This was previously thought to be either uninhabitable or only sparsely populated.

The hunter-gatherers of the Natufian Culture, which existed in modern-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria between c. 14,500 to 11,500 years ago, were some of the first people to build permanent houses and tend to edible plants. These innovations were probably crucial for the subsequent emergence of agriculture during the Neolithic era. Previous research had suggested that the centre of this culture was the Mount Carmel and Galilee region, and that it spread from here to other parts of the region. The new study by the Copenhagen-Weizmann team, published in Scientific Reports, challenges this 'core region' theory.
The new paper is based on evidence from a Natufian site located in Jordan, c. 150 km northeast of Amman. The site, called Shubayqa 1, was excavated by a University of Copenhagen team led by Dr. Tobias Richter from 2012-2015.
The excavations uncovered a well-preserved Natufian site, which produced a large assemblage of charred plant remains. These kinds of botanical remains are rare at many other Natufian sites in the region, and enabled the Weizmann-Copenhagen team to obtain the largest number of dates for any Natufian site yet in Israel or Jordan.
"We dated more than 20 samples from different layers of the site, making it one of the best and most accurately dated Natufian sites anywhere. The dates show, among other things, that the site was first settled not long after the earliest dates obtained for northern Israel, ca. 14,600 years ago. This suggests that the Natufian either expanded very rapidly, which we think is unlikely, or that it emerged more or less simultaneously in different parts of the region," Dr. Richter says. "The early date of Shubayqa 1 also shows that Natufian hunter-gatherers were more versatile than previously thought. Past research had linked the emergence of the Natufian to the rich habitat of the Mediterranean woodland zone. But the early dates from Shubayqa show that these late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers were also able to live quite comfortably in more open parkland steppe zones further east. Some of their subsistence appears to have relied heavily on the exploitation of club rush tubers, as well as other wild plants. They also hunted birds, gazelle and other animals."
Precise dating methodology
The dating was undertaken by Professor Elisabetta Boaretto at the Weizmann Institute of Science using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating. Boaretto is head of the D-REAMS lab in the Weizmann Institute, one of the few labs in the world that works with the technology and methods to analyze even the smallest organic remains from a site and precisely date them.
Using a specially designed mass spectrometer, Boaretto can reveal the amount of carbon-14 in a sample down to the single atom. Based on the half-life of the radioactive carbon-14 atoms, the dating done in her lab is accurate to around 50 years, plus or minus. For the analysis of the specimen from Shubayqa, the team was able to select only short-lived plant species or short-lived plant parts, such as seeds or twigs, to obtain the dates. This ensured the highest possible accuracy for the dates.
Boaretto says that the "core area" theory may have come about, in part, because the Mt. Carmel sites have been the best preserved and studied, until now. In addition to calling into question the idea of the Natufian beginning in one settlement and spreading outwards, the study suggests that the hunter-gatherers who lived 12,000 to 15,000 years ago were ingenious and resourceful. They learned to make use of numerous plants and animals where ever they were, and to tend them in a way that led to early settlement.
The authors say that this supports a view in which there were many pathways to agriculture and "the "Neolithic way of life' was a highly variable and complex process that cannot be explained on the basis of single-cause models."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Wild sheep grazed in the Black Desert 14,500 years ago
More information: 'AMS Radicarbon Dates Suggest Complex Origins of the Late Epipalaeolithic Natufian in the Levant' Scientific Reports (2017). www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17096-5

Journal reference: Scientific Reports [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Copenhagen


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-archaeolog...t.html#jCp

[/url] [url=https://phys.org/news/2017-12-storytellers-cooperation-hunter-gatherers-advent-religion.html][Image: storytellers.jpg]
Storytellers promoted cooperation among hunter-gatherers before advent of religion
Storytelling promoted co-operation in hunter-gatherers prior to the advent of organised religion, a new UCL study reveals.
[Image: 1x1.gif]7 hours ago in Social Sciences 

[Image: cropgenedisc.jpg]
Crop gene discovery gets to the root of food security
Researchers from The University of Queensland have discovered that a key gene which controls flowering time in wheat and barley crops also directs the plant's root growth.
[Image: 1x1.gif]Dec 04, 2017 in Biotechnology
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After 20 years, researcher presents the most complete Australopithecus fossil ever found
December 6, 2017


[Image: after20years.jpg]
Credit: Wits University

South Africa's status as a major cradle in the African nursery of humankind has been reinforced with today's unveiling of "Little Foot", the country's oldest, virtually complete fossil human ancestor.


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-years-aust...l.html#jCp


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Tuesday, December 29th, 2015, 07:47 pm (This post was last modified: Tuesday, December 29th, 2015, 07:56 pm by EA.)

This thread is to discuss and update our knowledge on the origins of mankind.


The fascinating subject of our origins has recently been populated with anomalous new hominid species.

Living literally alongside us yet now they all seem gone.

So much new information has arisen that itz time for a total update for 2016.  2018 

Quote:Arrow Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. 
However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, are revising this story. Recent discoveries show that humans left Africa multiple times prior to 60,000 years ago, and that they interbred with other hominins in many locations across Eurasia.




Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia
December 7, 2017


[Image: revisingthes.jpg]
Map of sites and postulated migratory pathways associated with modern humans dispersing across Asia during the Late Pleistocene. Credit: Bae et al. 2017. On the origin of modern humans: Asian perspectives. Science. Image by: Katerina Douka and Michelle O'Reilly
Most people are now familiar with the traditional "Out of Africa" model: modern humans evolved in Africa and then dispersed across Asia and reached Australia in a single wave about 60,000 years ago. However, technological advances in DNA analysis and other fossil identification techniques, as well as an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, are revising this story. Recent discoveries show that humans left Africa multiple times prior to 60,000 years ago, and that they interbred with other hominins in many locations across Eurasia.


A review of recent research on dispersals by early modern humans from Africa to Asia by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa confirms that the traditional view of a single dispersal of anatomically modern humans out of Africa around 60,000 years ago can no longer be seen as the full story. The analysis, published in the journal Science, reviews the plethora of new discoveries being reported from Asia over the past decade, which were made possible by technological advances and interdisciplinary collaborations, and shows that Homo sapiens reached distant parts of the Asian continent, as well as Near Oceania, much earlier than previously thought. Additionally, evidence that modern humans interbred with other hominins already present in Asia, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans, complicates the evolutionary history of our species.
New model: Multiple dispersals of modern humans out of Africa, beginning as early as 120,000 years ago
The authors brought together findings from multiple recent studies to refine the picture of human dispersals out of Africa and into Asia. While scientists once thought that humans first left Africa in a single wave of migration about 60,000 years ago, recent studies have identified modern human fossils in far reaches of Asia that are potentially much older. For example, H. sapiens remains have been found at multiple sites in southern and central China that have been dated to between 70,000 and 120,000 years ago. Additional finds indicate that modern humans reached Southeast Asia and Australia prior to 60,000 years ago.
However, other recent studies do confirm that all present-day non-African populations branched off from a single ancestral population in Africa approximately 60,000 years ago. This could indicate that there were multiple, smaller dispersals of humans out of Africa beginning as early as 120,000 years ago, followed by a major dispersal 60,000 years ago. While the recent dispersal contributed the bulk of the genetic make-up of present-day non-Africans, the earlier dispersals are still evident.


"The initial dispersals out of Africa prior to 60,000 years ago were likely by small groups of foragers, and at least some of these early dispersals left low-level genetic traces in modern human populations. A later, major 'Out of Africa' event most likely occurred around 60,000 years ago or thereafter," explains Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
Multiple interbreeding events
Recent genetic research has resolved the question of whether or not modern humans interbred with other ancient hominins - they definitely did. Modern humans interbred not only with Neanderthals, but also with our recently-discovered relatives the Denisovans, as well as a currently unidentified population of pre-modern hominins. One estimate is that all present-day non-Africans have 1-4% Neanderthal heritage, while another group has estimated that modern Melanesians have an average of 5% Denisovan heritage. In all, it is now clear that modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and perhaps other hominin groups likely overlapped in time and space in Asia, and they certainly had many instances of interaction.
The increasing evidence of interactions suggests that the spread of material culture is also more complicated than previously thought. "Indeed, what we are seeing in the behavioral record is that the spread of so-called modern human behaviors did not occur in a simple time-transgressive process from west to east. Rather, ecological variation needs to be considered in concert with behavioral variation between the different hominin populations present in Asia during the Late Pleistocene," explains Christopher Bae of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.
In light of these new discoveries, our understanding of human movements across the Old World has become much more complex, and there are still many questions left open. The authors argue for the development of more complicated models of human dispersals and for conducting new research in the many areas of Asia where none has been done to date. Additionally, it will be important to review materials collected prior to the development of modern analytic methods, to see what more can now be learned from them. "Fortunately," states Katerina Douka, also of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, "there have been an increasing number of multidisciplinary research programs launched in Asia over the past few decades. The information that is being reported is helping to fill in the gaps in the evolutionary records."
"It is an exciting time to be involved with interdisciplinary research projects across Asia," adds Bae.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: DNA of early Neanderthal gives timeline for new modern human-related dispersal from Africa
More information: C.J. Bae at University of Hawai'i at Manoa in Honolulu, HI el al., "On the origin of modern humans: Asian perspectives," Science (2017). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aai9067

Journal reference: Science [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Max Planck Society


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-story-dispersal-modern-humans-eurasia.html#jCp

[/url] LilD

[url=https://phys.org/news/2017-12-story-dispersal-modern-humans-eurasia.html#jCp]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
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.


Quote:So much new information has arisen that itz time for a total update for 2016.

Happy Knew Gnosis!  Fireworks  2018 Fireworks

Quote:The data, which came from archaeological finds in Alaska, also points to the existence of a previously unknown Native American population, whom academics have named "Ancient Beringians".

Recall:

Quote:Wednesday, January 6th, 2016, 02:11 am (This post was last modified: Wednesday, January 6th, 2016, 03:33 am by EA.) Cool.

Not only is the Irish genome being codified,perhaps the Metis will be used as a control,to evaluate other truths in Canada.
New inroads are being made monthly of the original inhabitants of North and South America.
A segment of the population after renewed contact with the old world has produced people like me.
I want to know how I evolved,don't you?  [Image: hi.gif]
We can now find out who everyone is in a genetic time machine!
My last name is Ireland but Am I Irish?
Or Metis? or just out of africa east of eden and back to the garden?


Baringian?  Arrow ANU Breed.


Direct genetic evidence of founding population reveals story of first Native Americans
January 3, 2018, University of Cambridge


[Image: directgeneti.jpg]
Excavations at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in Alaska. The new study shows that the remains found there belonged to members of a previously unknown Native American population, whom academics have named "Ancient Beringians". Credit: Ben Potter
Direct genetic traces of the earliest Native Americans have been identified for the first time in a new study. The genetic evidence suggests that people may have entered the continent in a single migratory wave, perhaps arriving more than 20,000 years ago.

The data, which came from archaeological finds in Alaska, also points to the existence of a previously unknown Native American population, whom academics have named "Ancient Beringians".

The findings are being published in the journal Nature and present possible answers to a series of long-standing questions about how the Americas were first populated.

It is widely accepted that the earliest settlers crossed from what is now Russia into Alaska via an ancient land bridge spanning the Bering Strait which was submerged at the end of the last Ice Age. Issues such as whether there was one founding group or several, when they arrived, and what happened next, are the subject of extensive debate, however.

In the new study, an international team of researchers led by academics from the Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen sequenced the full genome of an infant - a girl named Xach'itee'aanenh t'eede gay, or Sunrise Child-girl, by the local Native community - whose remains were found at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in Alaska in 2013.

To their surprise, they found that although the child had lived around 11,500 years ago, long after people first arrived in the region, her genetic information did not match either of the two recognised branches of early Native Americans, which are referred to as Northern and Southern. Instead, she appeared to have belonged to an entirely distinct Native American population, which they called Ancient Beringians.

Further analyses then revealed that the Ancient Beringians were an offshoot of the same ancestor population as the Northern and Southern Native American groups, but that they separated from that population earlier in its history. This timeline allowed the researchers to construct a picture of how and when the continent might have been settled by a common, founding population of ancestral Native Americans, that gradually divided into these different sub-groupings.

The study was led by Professor Eske Willerslev, who holds positions both at St John's College, University of Cambridge, UK, and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.


"The Ancient Beringians diversified from other Native Americans before any ancient or living Native American population sequenced to date. It's basically a relict population of an ancestral group which was common to all Native Americans, so the sequenced genetic data gave us enormous potential in terms of answering questions relating to the early peopling of the Americas," he said.
"We were able to show that people probably entered Alaska before 20,000 years ago. It's the first time that we have had direct genomic evidence that all Native Americans can be traced back to one source population, via a single, founding migration event."
The study compared data from the Upward Sun River remains with both ancient genomes, and those of numerous present-day populations. This allowed the researchers first to establish that the Ancient Beringian group was more closely related to early Native Americans than their Asian and Eurasian ancestors, and then to determine the precise nature of that relationship and how, over time, they split into distinct populations.
Until now, the existence of two separate Northern and Southern branches of early Native Americans has divided academic opinion regarding how the continent was populated. Researchers have disagreed over whether these two branches split after humans entered Alaska, or whether they represent separate migrations.
The Upward Sun River genome shows that Ancient Beringians were isolated from the common, ancestral Native American population, both before the Northern and Southern divide, and after the ancestral source population was itself isolated from other groups in Asia. The researchers say that this means it is likely there was one wave of migration into the Americas, with all subdivisions taking place thereafter.
[Image: researchreve.jpg]
A scientific illustration of the Upward Sun River camp in what is nowInterior Alaska. Credit: Eric S. Carlson in collaboration with Ben A. Potter
According to the researchers' timeline, the ancestral population first emerged as a separate group around 36,000 years ago, probably somewhere in northeast Asia. Constant contact with Asian populations continued until around 25,000 years ago, when the gene flow between the two groups ceased. This cessation was probably caused by brutal changes in the climate, which isolated the Native American ancestors. "It therefore probably indicates the point when people first started moving into Alaska," Willerslev said.
Around the same time, there was a level of genetic exchange with an ancient North Eurasian population. Previous research by Willerslev has shown that a relatively specific, localised level of contact between this group, and East Asians, led to the emergence of a distinctive ancestral Native American population.
Ancient Beringians themselves then separated from the ancestral group earlier than either the Northern or Southern branches around 20,000 years ago. Genetic contact continued with their Native American cousins, however, at least until the Upward Sun River girl was born in Alaska around 8,500 years later.
The geographical proximity required for ongoing contact of this sort led the researchers to conclude that the initial migration into the Americas had probably already taken place when the Ancient Beringians broke away from the main ancestral line. Jos Vctor Moreno-Mayar, from the University of Copenhagen, said: "It looks as though this Ancient Beringian population was up there, in Alaska, from 20,000 years ago until 11,500 years ago, but they were already distinct from the wider Native American group."
Finally, the researchers established that the Northern and Southern Native American branches only split between 17,000 and 14,000 years ago which, based on the wider evidence, indicates that they must have already been on the American continent south of the glacial ice.
The divide probably occurred after their ancestors had passed through, or around, the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets - two vast glaciers which covered what is now Canada and parts of the northern United States, but began to thaw at around this time.
The continued existence of this ice sheet across much of the north of the continent would have isolated the southbound travellers from the Ancient Beringians in Alaska, who were eventually replaced or absorbed by other Native American populations. Although modern populations in both Alaska and northern Canada belong to the Northern Native American branch, the analysis shows that these derive from a later "back" migration north, long after the initial migration events.
"One significant aspect of this research is that some people have claimed the presence of humans in the Americas dates back earlier - to 30,000 years, 40,000 years, or even more," Willerslev added. "We cannot prove that those claims are not true, but what we are saying, is that if they are correct, they could not possibly have been the direct ancestors to contemporary Native Americans."
The study, Terminal Pleistocene Alaskan genome reveals first founding population of Native Americans, is published in Nature.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Ancient babies boost Bering land bridge layover: DNA links many Native Americans to infants in Alaskan grave
More information: J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar et al, Terminal Pleistocene Alaskan genome reveals first founding population of Native Americans, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/nature25173

Journal reference: Nature [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Cambridge


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-reveals-ev...e.html#jCp

[url=https://phys.org/news/2018-01-reveals-evidence-population-ancient-native.html#jCp][/url]
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What we learned in school can for the most part either be used as a general frame-work and set of loose guidelines or just go ahead and toss all that bull-shit in the trash and just start fresh here
What we learned in school skhul   Arrow  https://www.howtopronounce.com/skhul/



RE: Back to the garden... origins of mankind.

Quote:The morphological features of the fossils show characteristics identified with both neanderthals and modern humans, and though they were initially classified as neanderthals, today the generally accepted classification is that of archaic (early) modern human.
The specimens are thought to represent some of the earliest modern humans to occupy regions outside of Africa. The finds in both the Skull and Qafzeh caves provide evidence to support the theory that early modern humans and neanderthals lived concurrently in Eurasia for a time, and may even have interbred in the Levant.

Study may shed new light on dispersal of early modern humans
Tue, Jan 02, 2018

Results from the analysis of stone tools from Skhul Cave may help reveal a complex picture of how, when and where early modern humans left Africa.
[Image: study-may-shed-new-light-on-dispersal-of...=1000&q=70]
A recent study* of lithic artifacts recovered decades ago from the Mount Carmel (in Israel) Skhul Cave suggests, according to the study authors, that the occupation of the [u]Levant[/u] by early modern humans during the Pleistocene was not as simple and straight-forward as the traditionally accepted paradigm has depicted. 
Archaeological and fossil finds from caves in the Levant, particularly the Skhul and [u]Qafzeh [/u]caves in northern Israel, have often been cited as evidence to support the popular theory that early modern humans left Africa in a single wave perhaps 100,000+ years ago and occupied locations in the Levant, only to be snuffed out due to environmental change and the lack of more advanced stone tool and weapon technology before their descendants could colonize further eastward into greater Southwest Asia and the Far East. It has been portrayed as a short-lived movement, with a more successful dispersal out of Africa occurring later, around 60 - 70,000 years ago, based on the interpretation of other finds and genetic evidence. Recent findings in other parts of the world, including China and other regions, however, have turned up evidence for early modern human occupation that challenge the dating of the latter dispersal model by thousands of years.
Enter here a recent study of a collection of lithic artifacts from Skhul Cave, a total of 270 samples, currently housed at the Pitt River Museum (PRM), University of Oxford. In that study, Huw S. Groucutt of the University of Oxford and colleagues analyzed 56 stone cores, 85 Levallois flakes, 47 non-Levallois flakes, 81 retouched stone tools and 1 hammerstone, providing the first in-depth, complete examination and description of the assemblage using modern techniques of analysis. In the process, they also compared them to lithics excavated at other paleolithic sites and integrated their findings with the paleontological and chronometric (dating) data from previous research of the Skhul and Qafzeh caves. The latest chronological data from Skhul and Qafzeh suggests the artifacts were made and used about 130 - 120,000 and 95,000 years ago, respectively. This places the artifacts, and the early modern human fossils excavated in the caves, among the first early modern humans outside of Africa known to date. 
By analyzing the artifacts within the context of finds from other sites, the stratigraphic context of the cave, and paleo-climate data, the authors hypothesize that the dispersal of and occupation by early modern humans in the Levant may have been longer and more complex than previously modeled. Write Groucutt and colleagues, “accumulating the multidisciplinary data, including the analysis of the PRM Skhul lithic assemblage we have presented, increasingly suggest that there were multiple dispersals of Homo sapiens out of Africa in MIS 5 [between 130,000 and 80,000 years ago], corresponding with humid phases, and alternating with phases of aridity.”* With this conclusion, the authors also recognize that other hypotheses could explain their results, such as the evolution of the Skhul and Qafzeh hominids from an indigenous Middle Pleistocene hominid population in southwest Asia.
___________________________________ [Image: 27660264269_7dcb34e862.jpg]
Skhul Cave.Yeshurun, Wikimedia Commons
________________________________________________
[Image: 27660255429_57c05ef433.jpg]
 Cast of Skull 5, the best known early Homo sapiens skull found in Skhul cave. Rama, Wikimedia Commons
__________________________________________________ 
Skhul Cave was initially excavated by Theodore McCown in 1931 and 1932. Excavations eventually yielded lithic tools and other finds, including human fossil remains representing seven adults and three children, some of whom were suggested by the excavators as having been intentionally buried. In addition to the lithic tools, perforated Nassarius shells thought to have been imported to the caves from a different location were also discovered. The discoverers have suggested that these people may have collected and used them as decorative beads, a behavior distinctly more ‘advanced’ than what is attributed to much earlier hominid species. The morphological features of the fossils show characteristics identified with both neanderthals and modern humans, and though they were initially classified as neanderthals, today the generally accepted classification is that of archaic (early) modern human. The specimens are thought to represent some of the earliest modern humans to occupy regions outside of Africa. The finds in both the Skull and Qafzeh caves provide evidence to support the theory that early modern humans and neanderthals lived concurrently in Eurasia for a time, and may even have interbred in the Levant. 
Although the initial investigations at Skhul in the 1930’s employed techniques and methodology that are considered inadequate by modern standards, and the collection analyzed does not represent the complete assemblage of all lithics recovered from the site, Groucutt and colleagues determined nevertheless that the artifact sampling met the requirements for making some valid observations and drawing conclusions for a hypothesis worth testing at other digs and through future studies. “We have described the Skhul lithic assemblage acknowledging its limitations in terms of excavation methods and so on, and formulated hypotheses that can be tested by multidisciplinary analyses of new sites,” the study authors concluded.*   
The detailed [u]study paper[/u] will be published in the Quaternary International scientific journal. 
____________________________________________________ 
*Groucutt, H.S., et al., Skhul lithic technology and the dispersal of Homo sapiens into Southwest Asia, Quaternary International (2017), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.12.027


http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/win...ern-humans


Es Skhul  Sheep Is Cool 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Es Skhul[Image: 240px-Skhul_Cave.JPG]
Es-Skhul Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel
[Image: 240px-Israel_relief_location_map.jpg]
[Image: 8px-Archaeological_site_icon_%28red%29.svg.png]
location in Israel
Alternate name
Skhul Cave
Location
south of the city of Haifa
Region
Israel
Coordinates
[Image: 17px-WMA_button2b.png]32°37′33.11″N 34°57′30.67″ECoordinates: [Image: 17px-WMA_button2b.png]32°37′33.11″N 34°57′30.67″E
History
Periods
Palaeolithic
Cultures
Natufian
Site notes
Excavation dates
1928
Archaeologists
Dorothy Garrod
Es-Skhul (Arabic: السخول‎, meaning kid, young goat) is a prehistoric cave site situated 20 km (12.4 mi) south of the city of Haifa, Israel, and around 3 km (1.9 mi) from the Mediterranean Sea. The site was first excavated by Dorothy Garrod during summer of 1928. The excavation revealed the first evidence of the late Epipaleolithic Natufian culture, characterized by the presence of numerous microlith stone tools, human burials and ground stone tools. Skhul also represents an area where Neanderthals - present in the region from 200,000 to 45,000 years ago - lived alongside these humans dating to 100,000 years ago.[1] The cave also has Middle Palaeolithic layers.
The remains found at Es Skhul, together with those found at the Wadi el-Mughara Caves and Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh were classified in 1939 by Arthur Keith and Theodore D. McCown as Palaeoanthropus palestinensis, a descendent of Homo heidelbergensis.[2][3][4]

[Image: danforthcent.jpg]
Scientists uncover a genetic mechanism that could enhance yield potential in cereal crops
Solving the world's food, feed and bioenergy challenges requires integration of multiple approaches and diverse skills. Andrea Eveland, Ph.D., assistant member at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and her team identified ...

[Image: studysuggest.jpg]
Study suggests new targets for improving soybean oil content
Scientists working to increase soybean oil content tend to focus their efforts on genes known to impact the plant's seeds, but a Purdue University study shows that genes affecting other plant parts deserve more attention.


Ancient European Culture Known For Spectacular Cave Paintings Traced to Even Older Middle Eastern Culture
By Kastalia Medrano On 12/28/17 at 12:25 PM
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Tech & Science Archaeology Israel Europe ancient art Ancient humans cave art Caves
Archaeologists have discovered that prehistoric tools and artwork from western Europe owe their existence to an even earlier culture in the Middle East. Carbon dating of a cave in Israel supports a theory that the Ahmarian culture of the Levant predated the Aurignacian culture of Europe by thousands of years, according to Haaretz.
The Ahmarian and Aurignacian cultures were the first two modern human cultures, according to Haaretz. They did coexist, but it’s been unclear if one was borne from the other. Now, archaeologists have dated the Ahmarian-inhabited Manot Cave, in northern Israel near the Lebanon border, which shows that Ahmarians lived in the region around 42,000 to 46,000 years ago—earlier than Aurignacians are known to exist.
This evidence suggests that somewhere around that time the Ahmarians entered Europe and gave rise to the entire Aurignacian culture—evolving along the way—and it weakens the opposing theory that the two cultures evolved at the same time and independently of each other.

“Once we see a sequence from the Levant to Europe, from the older to the younger, we can confirm that the dispersal model of the Ahmarian-Aurignacian is right,” co-lead excavator Omry Barzilai, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, told Haaretz. “If in the Levant this culture is 46,000 years old and in Europe it’s 40,000 then it makes sense to say that the direction is from the Levant to Europe.”
Scientists from the Dangoor Research Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, were able to radiocarbon date the charcoal remains from Manot Cave’s hearths. Elisabetta Boaretto, director of Weizmann’s Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science, told Haaretz that they were able to date levels containing tools from each culture. The Middle Eastern Ahmarians developed predominantly stone tools, while the later European Aurignacians developed bone tools.
In early 2017, a paper in the scientific journal Quaternary International published details of a 38,000-year-old Aurignacian engraved image in France. The culture is known for its artwork, including cave paintings and elaborately carved jewelry, Barzilai told Haaretz.
[Image: manotcavespeleothem.JPG] Manot Cave in northern Israel. Wikipedia
Barzilai is also one of the authors of a paper published in November in the journal Science Advances demonstrating that while the diaspora throughout Europe was unfolding, it didn’t remain a one-way trip for all the Aurignacians. Around 38,000 years ago, some of them went back to the Middle East, reoccupying Manot Cave and others like it, possibly pushed by changing temperatures in the ice age.
“Think of it like this: they went to northern Europe, made a U-turn and came back,” Barzilai told Haaretz.
According to the Science Advances paper, there are four additional sites besides Manot that have similar sequences of radiocarbon dates—three rock shelters on the Mediterranean coast and one in the Jordan Valley. No prehistoric cave-painting sites have been found in regions inhabited by Ahmarians; all known examples are in Europe and are associated with Aurignacians, Haaretz reported.

http://www.newsweek.com/ancient-european...ast-762051
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
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Ancient Phoenician DNA from Sardinia, Lebanon reflects settlement, integration, mobility
January 10, 2018, Public Library of Science


[Image: ancientphoen.jpg]
Sampling from the Tomb 351 Monte Sirai. Credit: Michele Guirguis
Ancient DNA from the Phoenician remains found in Sardinia and Lebanon could provide insight into the extent of integration with settled communities and human movement during this time period, according to a study published January 10, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by E. Matisoo-Smith from the University of Otago, New Zealand and Pierre Zalloua from the Lebanese American University, Beirut, and colleagues. The researchers looked at mitochondrial genomes, which are maternally inherited, in a search for markers of Phoenician ancestry.


The Phoenicians were an ancient civilization who emerged in 1800 BCE in the Northern Levant and by the 9th century BCE had spread their culture across the Mediterranean to parts of Asia, Europe and Africa through their trade networks and settlements. Despite their widespread influence, most of what we know about the Phoenicians comes from Greek and Egyptian documents on this civilization.
The authors of this study analyzed Phoenicians' ancient DNA to investigate how Phoenicians integrated with the Sardinian communities they settled. The researchers found 14 new ancient mitogenome sequences from pre-Phoenician (~1800 BCE) and Phoenician (~700-400 BCE) samples from Lebanon and Sardinia and then compared these with 87 new complete mitogenomes from modern Lebanese and 21 recently published pre-Phoenician ancient mitogenomes from Sardinia.
The researchers found evidence of continuity of some lineages of indigenous Sardinians after Phoenician settlement, which suggests that there was integration between Sardinians and Phoenicians in Monte Sirai. They also discovered evidence of new, unique mitochondrial lineages in Sardinia and Lebanon, which may indicate the movement of women from sites in the Near East or North Africa to Sardinia and the movement of European women to Lebanon. Combined, the authors suggest that there was a degree of female mobility and genetic diversity in Phoenician communities, indicating that migration and cultural assimilation were common occurrences.
Pierre Zalloua says, "this DNA evidence reflects the inclusive and multicultural nature of Phoenician society. They were never conquerors, they were explorers and traders".
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Ancient DNA study finds Phoenician from Carthage had European ancestry
More information: Matisoo-Smith E, Gosling AL, Platt D, Kardailsky O, Prost S, Cameron-Christie S, et al. (2018) Ancient mitogenomes of Phoenicians from Sardinia and Lebanon: A story of settlement, integration, and female mobility. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0190169. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190169

Journal reference: PLoS ONE [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Public Library of Science


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-ancient-ph...n.html#jCp

[url=https://phys.org/news/2018-01-ancient-phoenician-dna-sardinia-lebanon.html#jCp][/url]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
I view these two articles eye post as (parentheses) bookends that contain humanity's encyclopedia.

As stone technology encapsulates the point.

Half a Million Year Old Prehistoric Site Uncovered in Sharon Valley
By
JNi.Media 20 Tevet 5778 – January 7, 2018


Photo Credit: Samuel Magal, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
[Image: Maayan-Shemer-excavation-director-for-th...96x461.jpg]Maayan Shemer, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority, showing a half-million year-old hand axe.

An astonishing discovery in Jaljulia, an Israeli-Arab town in Israel near Kfar Saba in the Sharon Valley: a rare and important prehistoric site, roughly half a million years old, extending over about 2.5 acres, strewn with remnants of a rich stone age industry, including hundreds of flint hand axes, and typical tools of the ancient Acheulian culture.


The site was uncovered over the past few months in a joint excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Tel Aviv University Dept. of Archaeology. The excavation was funded by the Israel Land Authority, which was carrying out a project to expand Jaljulia.
According to Maayan Shemer, the excavation director on behalf of the IAA, and Prof. Ran Barkai, head of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University, “the extraordinary quantity of flint tools uncovered in the excavation provides significant information about the life of prehistoric humans during the Lower Paleolithic period.”
[Image: Hundreds-of-hand-axes-were-uncovered-in-...vation.jpg]Hundreds of hand axes were uncovered in the excavation. / Photo credit: Samuel Magal, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
“It seems that half a million years ago, the conditions here in Jaljulia were such, that this became a favored locality, subject to repeated human activity,” the two archaeologists said. “We associate the industry found on site to the Homo Erectus – a direct ancestor of the Homo Sapiens, the human species living today. A geological reconstruction of the prehistoric environment shows that the human activity took place in a dynamic environment, on the banks of an ancient stream (possibly Nahal Qaneh, which now flows approximately 500 yards south of the site). This environment is considered to have been rich with vegetation and herd animals, a ‘green spot’ in the landscape. In this place, three basic needs of the ancient hunter gatherers were met: clear water, a variety of food sources (plants and animals), and flint nodules, of which tools were made. The fact that the site was occupied repeatedly indicates that prehistoric humans possessed a geographic memory of the place, and could have returned here as a part of a seasonal cycle.”
Hand axes, found at the site in relatively large quantities, are very impressive tools, their shape reminiscent of a teardrop. The production of these tools require careful and meticulous work, and a thorough familiarity with the raw material in use. In Jaljulia hand axes were made of a variety of flint types, and the excavation team observed differences in the quality of production – suggesting some of the hand axes were made by a master craftsman and others by less qualified artisans.
[Image: The-excavation-at-Jaljulia.jpg]The excavation at Jaljulia. / Photo credit: Samuel Magal, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Hand axes were used as dominant tools by prehistoric humans for more than a million years. Yet, its particular use is still debated. Some scholars suggest that these were the tools used to dismember large animals. Others say that hand axes were the “Swiss Army knife” of the Stone Age and had additional uses such as hunting and working hides and plants. Large quantities of additional flint artifacts attest to technological innovation, development and creativity.
Maayan Shemer said that “coming to work in Jaljulia, nobody expected to find evidence of such an ancient site, let alone one so extensive and with such impressive finds. There are only two sites whose estimated age is close to Jaljulia in the Sharon, or central Israel: one in Kibbutz Eyal, approximately 3 miles to the north, and the other, dated to a slightly later cultural phase, at Qesem Cave, located approximately 3 miles to the south.”
[Image: The-excavation-at-Jaljulia-next-to-Highw...Valley.jpg]The excavation at Jaljulia, next to Highway 6 in the Sharon Valley. / Photo credit: Yitzhak Marmelstein, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
“The findings are amazing, both in their preservation state and in their implications about our understanding of this ancient material culture,” Shemer attested. “We see here a wide technological variety, and there is no doubt that researching these finds in-depth will contribute greatly to the understanding of the human lifestyle and behavior during the period in which Homo Erectus inhabited our area.”
Prof. Ran Barkai noted that “it’s hard to believe that between Jaljulia and Highway 6, five meters below the surface, an ancient landscape some half a million years old has been so amazingly preserved. This extraordinary site will enable us to trace the behavior of our direct prehistoric ancestors, and reconstruct their lifestyle and behavior on the very long journey of human existence. The past of all of us, of all human beings, is buried in the earth, and we have a one-time opportunity to travel back half a million years and get to know better the ancient humans who lived here before us, between Jaljulia and Highway 6.”

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/archaeol...018/01/07/





Archaeology: Artifacts show Clovis people hung out in southeastern Ohio
By Brad Lepper, For The Columbus Dispatch
Posted Jan 7, 2018 at 10:30 AM Updated Jan 7, 2018 at 11:49 AM
 
No one knows for sure when the first human set foot on the land we now know as Ohio, but the best current archaeological and genetic data suggest it couldn’t have been much before about 16,000 years ago.
We know very little about the first Ohioans. There weren’t many of them, so they didn’t leave a lot of garbage behind for archaeologists to find. By 13,000 years ago, however, things had changed. The Clovis culture emerged and spread rapidly across much of North America.
The Clovis culture is named for Clovis, New Mexico, where archaeologists first recognized a distinctive type of spear point directly associated with a mammoth skeleton. Hundreds of Clovis points have been found across Ohio, but most of them were found in the major river valleys of central Ohio with very few in the southeastern corner of the state. Some archaeologists conclude from this that the Clovis people chose to avoid the hill country, favoring instead the flatlands, where it was easier to hunt mammoths and mastodons. But a new discovery suggests that the Clovis culture didn’t avoid this region; it’s just harder to find Clovis sites among the hills and hollows of southeastern Ohio.
Metin Eren, an archaeologist at Kent State University, and several colleagues studied a small collection of Clovis artifacts found in Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County. They presented the results of their research in the October Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
The team studied nine stone tools found at the site, including an unfinished Clovis point, four fragments of other points, a scraper and three other tools, as well as 118 pieces of chipped flint. They examined 33 of these artifacts under high-powered magnification to determine whether and how they had been used.
The broken tip of a spear point exhibited micropolish, confirming that it had been used as a spear. Two scrapers displayed wear patterns suggesting they had been used to scrape fresh hides. Two otherwise unmodified flint flakes showed evidence that they had been used to cut meat, and two other artifacts likely were used to work bone or antler.
Eren and his colleagues conclude that this site represents “at the very least... a small residential campsite in which hunting, game-processing, and tool production and/or tool rejuvenation activities took place.”
They plan to conduct test excavations at the site “to determine how large the site is, whether there are any preserved ... subsurface features,” such as hearths, “and if any potential samples for dating are present.” They also will try to figure out why the Clovis people “chose that spot on the landscape to set up camp.” Such information could help to identify other locations where additional Clovis campsites might be found.
Brad Lepper
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This is only one site, and so far only a handful of artifacts has been found. It might prove to be only an Ice Age Motel 6, where Clovis people stopped while on their way to somewhere else, but the evidence is mounting that Clovis people were right at home in Ohio’s Appalachian foothills.
Brad Lepper is Curator of Archaeology at the Ohio History Connection.

http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180107/ar...stern-ohio




Researchers say ability to throw played a key role in human evolution
June 26, 2013

http://www.wikihow.com/Throw-a-Javelin

Experts recommend ~33 degrees as the optimum release angle.

Watch Video:
http://phys.org/news/2013-06-chimps-huma...tcher.html


[Image: 629px-Throw-a-Javelin-Intro.jpg]

Lift the left leg and move the throwing arm, with the elbow placed high and close to the mid line. The javelin release angle should account for aerodynamic lift and drag. Experts recommend 33 degrees as the optimum release angle.


It's easy to marvel at the athleticism required to throw a 90-mile-per-hour fastball, but when Neil Roach watches baseball, he sees something else at work – evolution.

Quote: Wrote:That ability – to throw an object with great speed and accuracy – is a uniquely human adaptation, one that Roach believes was crucial in our evolutionary past. How, when and why humans evolved the ability to throw so well is the subject of a study published today (June 26) in the journal Nature. The study was led by Roach, who recently received his Ph.D. from Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and is now a postdoctoral researcher at George Washington University, with Madhusudhan Venkadesan of NCBS at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Michael Rainbow of the Spaulding National Running Center, and Daniel Lieberman, the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard. They found that a suite of changes to our shoulders and arms allowed early humans to more efficiently hunt by throwing projectiles, helping our ancestors become part-time carnivores and paving the way for a host of later adaptations, including increases in brain size and migration out of Africa.


"When we started this research, there were essentially two questions we asked – one of them was why are humans so uniquely good at throwing, while all other creatures including our chimpanzee cousins are not," said Roach. "The other question was: How do we do it? What is it about our body that enables this behavior, and can we identify those changes in the fossil record?"

What they found, Roach said, were a suite of physical changes - such as the lowering and widening of the shoulders, an expansion of the waist, and a twisting of the humerus – that make humans especially good at throwing.

[Image: nature12267-f1.2.jpg]

While some of those changes occurred earlier during human evolution, Lieberman said it wasn't until the appearance of Homo erectus, approximately 2 million years ago, that they all appeared together. The same period is also marked by some of the earliest signs of effective hunting, suggesting that the ability to throw an object very fast and very accurately played a critical role in human's ability to rise to the top of the food chain.

"The ability to throw was one of a handful of changes that enabled us to become carnivores, which then triggered a host of changes that occurred later in our evolution," Lieberman said. "If we were not good at throwing and running and a few other things, we would not have been able to evolve our large brains, and all the cognitive abilities such as language that come with it. If it were not for our ability to throw, we would not be who we are today."

[Image: nature12267-f2.2.jpg]

To start unpacking the evolutionary origins of throwing, Roach began not by studying how humans throw, but how our closest relatives – chimpanzees – do.

Though they're known to throw objects (often feces) underhand, chimps, on rare occasions, do throw overhand, but those throws are far less accurate and powerful than those of the average Little League pitcher, Roach said. Additionally, chimps throw as a part of display behavior and never when hunting.

[Image: nature12267-f3.2.jpg]

Part of the reason for chimpanzee's poor throwing performance, Lieberman said, is tied to their technique, which in turn is limited by their anatomy. "Chimps throw overhand using either a dart throwing motion, where the elbow is extended, or much like a cricket bowler, where their elbow is kept straight and they generate force by swinging their shoulder", Lieberman said.

"That led us to studying cricket bowlers and trying to understand what happens when you keep your arm straight, and why that diminishes your throwing ability," Roach said. "Eventually, we began to think that changes in the way the shoulder is oriented with regards to the rest of the body could change the way you generate force when you're throwing."

To explore those physical changes, Roach and colleagues began by creating a complex model that incorporated current research about the biomechanics of throwing. Using that model, they were able to explore how morphological changes to the body – wider shoulders, arms that are higher or lower on the body, the ability to twist the upper body independently of the hips and legs, and the anatomy of the humerus – effect throwing performance.

In addition to the modeling, Roach performed a series of real-world experiments in Lieberman's Skeletal Biology Lab using members of the Harvard Baseball team and a host of braces designed to limit their movements.

The idea, Roach explained, was that by restricting certain motions, the players would be forced into a more primitive condition, giving him the opportunity to see how different anatomical shifts contribute to the mechanics of modern throwing.

Armed with a method known as inverse dynamics, Roach and colleagues were able to not only quantify how much restricting certain types of movements affected throwing performance, but were able to trace the effect to specific changes in the mechanics of each player.

"We try to push these bits of anatomy back in time, if you will, to see how that affects performance," Roach said. "The important thing about our experiments is that they went beyond just being able to measure how the restriction affects someone's ability to throw fast and accurately – they allowed us to to figure out the underlying physics. For example, when a thrower's velocity dropped by 10 percent, we could trace that change back to where it occurred."

"In order to test our evolutionary hypotheses, we needed to link the changes we'd seen in the fossil record to performance in terms of throwing," he continued. "This type of analysis allowed us to do that."

Nature | Letter
Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in homo Neil T. Roach,1, 2 Madhusudhan Venkadesan,3 Michael J. Rainbow4 & Daniel E. Lieberman1
AffiliationsContributionsCorresponding author Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
498,
Pages:
483–486
Date published:
(27 June 2013)DOI:
doi:10.1038/nature12267
Received11 January 2013 Accepted02 May 2013 Published online26 June 2013 Article

Some primates, including chimpanzees, throw objects occasionally1, 2, but only humans regularly throw projectiles with high speed and accuracy. Darwin noted that the unique throwing abilities of humans, which were made possible when bipedalism emancipated the arms, enabled foragers to hunt effectively using projectiles3. However, there has been little consideration of the evolution of throwing in the years since Darwin made his observations, in part because of a lack of evidence of when, how and why hominins evolved the ability to generate high-speed throws4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Here we use experimental studies of humans throwing projectiles to show that our throwing capabilities largely result from several derived anatomical features that enable elastic energy storage and release at the shoulder. These features first appear together approximately 2?million years ago in the species Homo erectus. Taking into consideration archaeological evidence suggesting that hunting activity intensified around this time9, we conclude that selection for throwing as a means to hunt probably had an important role in the evolution of the genus Homo.
Subject terms:Biological anthropology Musculoskeletal system Biological physics Palaeontology

[Image: nature12267-f4.2.jpg]

What they found were three key physical changes that helped to make fast, accurate throwing possible.

Evolutionary changes in the shoulder show that, as a pitcher cocks their arm back, "what they're doing is stretching the ligaments and tendons that run across their shoulder," Roach said. "Those tendons and ligaments get loaded up like the elastic bands on a slingshot, and late in the throw they release that energy rapidly and forcefully to rotate the upper arm with extraordinary speed and force." That rotation is the fastest motion the human body can produce. "The rotation of the humerus can reach up to 9,000 degrees-per-second, which generates an incredible amount of energy, causing you to rapidly extend your elbow, producing a very fast throw", Roach said.

Among the evolutionary changes that proved key to generating a powerful throwing motions, he said, was a twist in the bone of the upper arm and an expanded, mobile waist, which both gave early humans the ability to store up and then release more of this elastic energy

"The linchpin is really what's going on with the shoulder," Roach said. "When you see the shift from a chimpanzee shoulder to a more relaxed human-like shoulder, that enables this massive energy storage. Many of the evolutionary changes we studied, whether in the torso or the wrist, may predate Homo erectus, but when we see that final change in the shoulder, that's what brings it all together."

While the findings help shed light on a critical phase of human evolution, they also hint at a possible solution to a hotly debated question in sports: When it comes to young players, how much throwing is too much?

"It's a tough question to answer," Roach said. "The real difference, from an evolutionary perspective, is the frequency with which some folks throw now. To successfully learn to throw and use that ability to hunt, our ancestors would need to throw often, but nothing like the 100 or more high speed throws that some baseball pitchers throw now in the span of a couple of hours."

"I think it's really a case of what we evolved to do being superseded by what we're now asking athletes to do," he continued. "Athletes are overusing this capability that gave early humans an evolutionary advantage, and they're overusing it to the point that injuries are common."

Ultimately, Lieberman said, the evidence points to one clear conclusion – the ability to throw with speed and accuracy is a uniquely human adaptation, one that played an immeasurably important role in human development.

"Recent research indicates that stone points – the oldest kind of spear point – are about 500,000 years old," he said. "But people have been killing animals for at least 2 million years, and eating animals for about 2.6 million years."

"That means that for about 1.5 million years, when people hunted, they basically had nothing more lethal to throw than a pointed wooden stick," he continued. "If you want to kill something with that, you have to be able to throw that pretty hard, and you have to be accurate. Imagine how important it must have been to our ancestors to throw hard and fast."

http://phys.org/news/2013-06-chimps-huma...tcher.html

More information: Paper: dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12267

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v49...12267.html


Journal reference: Nature

Experts recommend ~33 degrees as the optimum release angle.

[Image: AR-180109856.jpg?Q=75&maxW=960&maxH=960]

Now thatz the 'spear-it' ya'll release!
See the light in accurate time of flight.
Commensurate to our global reach.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
Just barely past ~3.33 weeks into ANU year and Mankind gets placed further in the past. 

So far back that it now becomes possible we were around long enough to have an advanced past breakaway society and possible interaction with or creation of many Earth Myths and the vestigial appearance of-AN Arean Cydonian Civilization.

Modern Humans are as old as dirt.

Quote:The finding suggests that modern humans left the continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. 
Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base.
We went from Wright Bro's To Rite Stuff in less than a Century and recall: rust starts now.

Scientists discover oldest known modern human fossil outside of Africa
January 25, 2018, Binghamton University


[Image: 3-scientistsdi.jpg]
The left hemi-maxilla with teeth. Credit: Rolf Quam

A large international research team, led by Israel Hershkovitz from Tel Aviv University and including Rolf Quam from Binghamton University, State University of New York, has discovered the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa. The finding suggests that modern humans left the continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought.



"Misliya is an exciting discovery," says Rolf Quam, Binghamton University anthropology professor and a coauthor of the study. "It provides the clearest evidence yet that our ancestors first migrated out of Africa much earlier than we previously believed. It also means that modern humans were potentially meeting and interacting during a longer period of time with other archaic human groups, providing more opportunity for cultural and biological exchanges."
The fossil, an upper jawbone with several teeth, was found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. Several dating techniques applied to archaeological materials and the fossil itself suggest the jawbone is between 175,000-200,000 years old, pushing back the modern human migration out of Africa by at least 50,000 years.
Researchers analyzed the fossil remains relying on microCT scans and 3D virtual models and compared it with other hominin fossils from Africa, Europe and Asia.
"While all of the anatomical details in the Misliya fossil are fully consistent with modern humans, some features are also found in Neandertals and other human groups," said Quam, associate professor of anthropology at Binghamton. "One of the challenges in this study was identifying features in Misliya that are found only in modern humans. These are the features that provide the clearest signal of what species the Misliya fossil represents."
[Image: 2-scientistsdi.jpg]
Misliya cave. Credit: Rolf Quam
The archaeological evidence reveals that the inhabitants of Misliya Cave were capable hunters of large game species, controlled the production of fire and were associated with an Early Middle Paleolithic stone tool kit, similar to that found with the earliest modern humans in Africa.
While older fossils of modern humans have been found in Africa, the timing and routes of modern human migration out of Africa are key issues for understanding the evolution of our own species, said the researchers. The region of the Middle East represents a major corridor for hominin migrations during the Pleistocene and has been occupied at different times by both modern humans and Neandertals.

This new discovery opens the door to demographic replacement or genetic admixture with local populations earlier than previously thought, said Quam. Indeed, the evidence from Misliya is consistent with recent suggestions based on ancient DNA for an earlier migration, prior to 220,000 years ago, of modern humans out of Africa. Several recent archaeological and fossil discoveries in Asia are also pushing back the first appearance of modern humans in the region and, by implication, the migration out of Africa.
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Composite image of the Misliya Cave site during excavation, along with the maxilla and several representative Early Middle Paleolithic stone tools. Credit: Carla Schaffer, AAAS
[Image: 5a69fe98e9ec4.jpg]
Close-up view of the Misliya-1 teeth. Credit: Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Revising the story of the dispersal of modern humans across Eurasia
More information: DOI: 10.1126/science.aap8369 I. Hershkovitz el al., "The earliest modern humans outside Africa," Science (2018). http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10...ce.aap8369

Journal reference: Science
Provided by: Binghamton University

[/url]Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-scientists-oldest-modern-human-fossil.html#jCp



50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Arrow

Ancient Eurasian DNA sequencing is revealing links with modern humans
January 25, 2018, Cell Press


[Image: ancienteuras.jpg]

 
Schematic of populations in Eurasia and the Americas from 45,000 to 7,500 years ago. A summary of major events in each of the time periods is on the left. Credit: Melinda A.Yang and Qiaomei Fu
Until recently, very little was known about the genetic relationship between modern humans of the Upper Paleolithic age (the period of time between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, also called the Late Stone age) and today's populations. But with direct DNA sequencing, researchers are discovering unexpected genetic connections between individuals on opposing sides of Eurasia. These suggest a complex history that may represent early gene flow across Eurasia or an early population structure that eventually led to Europeans and Asians.


In a review published in the journal Trends in Genetics on January 25, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing discuss what we know about the genetics of ancient individuals from Eurasia (Europe and Western Asia) between 45,000-7,500 years ago. The authors summarized work that investigated the genomes of more than 20 ancients in the Eurasian family tree, including the 45,000-year-old Ust'-Ishim individual from Central Siberia, for their paper.
"Aside from these individuals, it is a fact that sampling for the Eurasian region is sparse for all time periods except the present-day," says co-author Qiaomei Fu, a paleogeneticist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "But with the information from the several individuals available for ancient DNA sequencing we do have hints at interesting population structure, migration and interaction in East Asia."
The researchers learned that in Eurasia between 35,000 and 45,000 years ago, at least four distinct populations were present. These were early Asian and Europeans, as well as populations with ancestry hardly found or not at all in modern populations. By 15,000-34,000 years ago, however, DNA sequencing showed that modern humans in Eurasia are similar to either Europeans or to Asians, suggesting that a genetic Asian-European separation likely occurred prior to 40,000 years ago. By 7,500-14,000 years ago, the populations across Eurasia shared genetic similarities, suggesting greater interactions between geographically distant populations.
These analyses also revealed at least two Neanderthal population mixing events, one approximately 50,000-60,000 years ago and a second more than 37,000 years ago. This Neanderthal ancestry gradually declined in archaic ancestry in Europeans dating from ~14,000-37,000 years ago.
"Genetic studies of ancient individuals have become more frequent in recent years because of technology," says Fu. "As a result, we can now see the presence of multiple distinct subpopulations in Europe and in Asia, and these in turn contribute different amounts of ancestry to more recent subpopulations."
"Right now is a great time to study human evolutionary genetics because the development of sequencing technology and computing resources minimizes destruction of samples and maximizes data generation and storage," Fu says. "With large present-day genomic datasets and increased international collaboration to handle the many newly sequenced ancient datasets, there is huge potential to understand the biology of human prehistory in a way that has never been accessible before."
Looking ahead, Fu and colleagues hope to extend this type of sequencing and analysis to learn more about the genetic prehistory of East Asia and other regions, including Oceania, Africa, and the Americas. "All of those areas have a rich human prehistory, particularly in Africa, so any ancient DNA from those continents will likely resolve some major questions on human migration," she says.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Genome-wide data from a 40,000-year-old man in China reveals complicated genetic history of Asia
More information: Trends in Genetics, Yang MA and Fu Qiaomei: "Insights into Modern Human Prehistory Using Ancient Genomes" http://www.cell.com/trends/genetics/full...17)30210-X , DOI: 10.1016/j.tig.2017.11.008

Journal reference: Trends in Genetics [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Cell Press


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-ancient-eu...g.html#jCp

Two key adaptions are revealed...

"The brain is arguably the most important organ for the abilities that make us human," says Neubauer. But modern human brain shape was not established at the origin of our species together with other key features of craniodental morphology. Neubauer adds: "We already knew that brain shape must have evolved within our own species, but we were surprised to discover just how recent these changes to brain organization were."
VS.
Scientists have studied the anatomy of humans and other primates for many years as part of an effort to understand why we humans came to be so dominant. Many assume that it is not just brain size, because prior research has shown that our early ancestors began engaging in advanced activities before our brains grew larger. This, the researchers note, suggests that our ancestors developed different brain chemistry.


Modern human brain organization emerged
  [Image: arrow.png] only recently

January 25, 2018, Max Planck Society


[Image: modernhumanb.jpg]
Brain shape evolution in Homo sapiens: brain shape of one of the earliest known members of our species, the 300,000 year-old cranium Jebel Irhoud 1 (left). Brain shape, and possibly brain function, evolved gradually. Brain morphology has reached the globularity typical for present day humans suprisingly recently (right). Credit: MPI EVA/ S. Neubauer, Ph. Gunz (License: CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, reveal how and when the typical globular brain shape of modern humans evolved. Their analyses based on changes in endocranial size and shape in Homo sapiens fossils show that brain organization, and possibly brain function, evolved gradually within our species and unexpectedly reached modern conditions only recently.

The evolutionary history of our own species can be traced back to fossils from Jebel Irhoud (Morocco) dated to about 300,000 years ago. Last year's analysis of these fossils by researchers from the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig was highlighted as one of the top science stories of 2017 by a diverse range of print and online media. Together with crania from Florisbad (South Africa, 260,000 years old), and Omo Kibish (Ethiopia) dated to 195,000 years ago, the Jebel Irhoud fossils document an early evolutionary phase of Homo sapiens on the African continent. Their face and teeth look modern, however their elongated braincase appears more archaic as in older human species and in Neandertals. In contrast, it is a globular braincase, which characterizes the skull of present-day modern humans together with small and gracile faces.
In a new paper published in Science Advances, members of the same research team now reveal additional surprising findings about brain evolution in Homo sapiens. The paleoanthropologists Simon Neubauer, Jean-Jacques Hublin and Philipp Gunz used micro computed tomography scans to create virtual imprints of the internal bony braincase, so called endocasts that approximate brain size and shape. They used state-of-art statistics to analyze endocasts of various fossils and present-day humans.
Evolution of the parietal lobe and the cerebellum
Neubauer and colleagues document a gradual change within Homo sapiens, from an elongated endocranial shape towards a more globular one. Two features of this process stand out: parietal and cerebellar bulging. Parietal brain areas are involved in orientation, attention, perception of stimuli, sensorimotor transformations underlying planning, visuospatial integration, imagery, self-awareness, working and long-term memory, numerical processing, and tool use. The cerebellum is not only associated with motor-related functions like the coordination of movements and balance, but also with spatial processing, working memory, language, social cognition, and affective processing.

The Homo sapiens fossils were found to have increasingly more modern endocranial shapes in accordance with their geological age. Only fossils younger than 35,000 years show the same globular shape as present-day humans, suggesting that modern brain organization evolved some time between 100,000 and 35,000 years ago. Importantly, these shape changes evolved independently of brain size—with endocranial volumes of around 1,400 milliliters, even the oldest Homo sapiens fossils from Jebel Irhoud fell within present-day variation of brain size. "The brain is arguably the most important organ for the abilities that make us human," says Neubauer. But modern human brain shape was not established at the origin of our species together with other key features of craniodental morphology. Neubauer adds: "We already knew that brain shape must have evolved within our own species, but we were surprised to discover just how recent these changes to brain organization were."
Evolutionary changes in early brain development
In present-day humans, the characteristic globular shape of the braincase develops within a few months around the time of birth. Philipp Gunz explains, "The evolution of endocranial shape within Homo sapiens suggests evolutionary changes of early brain development – a critical period for neural wiring and cognitive development." The researchers therefore argue that evolutionary changes to early brain development were key to the evolution of human cognition. Jean-Jacques Hublin, co-author and director of the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, says: "The gradual evolution of modern human brain shape seems to parallel the gradual emergence of behavioral modernity as seen from the archeological record."
The new findings are in agreement with recent genetic studies that show changes in genes related to brain development in our lineage since the population split between Homo sapiens and Neandertals. They add to the accumulating archeological and paleoanthropological evidence demonstrating that Homo sapiens is an evolving species with deep African roots and long-lasting gradual changes in behavioral modernity, brain organization, and potentially brain function.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Scientists discover the oldest Homo sapiens fossils at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco
More information: Simon Neubauer et al. The evolution of modern human brain shape, Science Advances (2018). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao5961
Jean-Jacques Hublin et al. New fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and the pan-African origin of Homo sapiens, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature22336
Daniel Richter et al. The age of the hominin fossils from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, and the origins of the Middle Stone Age, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature22335

Journal reference: Science Advances [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif] Nature [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Max Planck Society


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-modern-hum...d.html#jCp






Brain chemical differences suggest possible reason for humans having social edge over other primates
January 23, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org [url=https://phys.org/weblog/]report


[Image: 583c3089bdfbf.jpg]
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. has found some key differences in brain chemicals between humans and other primates. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group suggests these differences could explain the social edge humans have over other primates.

Scientists have studied the anatomy of humans and other primates for many years as part of an effort to understand why we humans came to be so dominant. Many assume that it is not just brain size, because prior research has shown that our early ancestors began engaging in advanced activities before our brains grew larger. This, the researchers note, suggests that our ancestors developed different brain chemistry. Brain chemicals play a role in such behaviors as socializing, which logically could lead to better language and other skills. To test this theory, the researchers studied brain chemistry in six species: humans, macaques, baboons, capuchins, chimpanzees and gorillas. Samples for the non-humans were gathered from animals that had died naturally in zoos.

The team studied nerve cells from the striatum, which serves as a relay for chemicals in the brain, looking for neurotransmitters, most specifically serotonin, dopamine and neuropeptide Y—they have all been tied to social and cooperative behavior. Doing so revealed brain levels of each when the animal was alive.

The researchers found that humans and great apes had higher levels of neuropeptide Y and serotonin in their basal ganglia than the other primates. They also found that humans had more dopamine in the striatum than the apes but less acetylcholine than chimps or gorillas. It is these differences, the group claims, that sets us apart from other primates. They suggest such differences would have made our ancestors more social, leading to a host of evolutionary changes.

Interestingly, a separate study was done recently by a team at Kent State—they were looking to explain the demographic success of humans and as part of that research found that female survivorship was a key component. They suggested differences in female brain chemistry led to females mating more often with males who were more outgoing but who were not too aggressive. Such males, they further suggest, would have been better providers because by that point in history, hunting was done in groups.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Small but distinct differences among species mark evolution of human brain

More information: 1. Mary Ann Raghanti et al. A neurochemical hypothesis for the origin of hominids, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1719666115

Abstract
It has always been difficult to account for the evolution of certain human characters such as language, empathy, and altruism via individual reproductive success. However, the striatum, a subcortical region originally thought to be exclusively motor, is now known to contribute to social behaviors and "personality styles" that may link such complexities with natural selection. We here report that the human striatum exhibits a unique neurochemical profile that differs dramatically from those of other primates. The human signature of elevated striatal dopamine, serotonin, and neuropeptide Y, coupled with lowered acetylcholine, systematically favors externally driven behavior and greatly amplifies sensitivity to social cues that promote social conformity, empathy, and altruism. We propose that selection induced an initial form of this profile in early hominids, which increased their affiliative behavior, and that this shift either preceded or accompanied the adoption of bipedality and elimination of the sectorial canine. We further hypothesize that these changes were critical for increased individual fitness and promoted the adoption of social monogamy, which progressively increased cooperation as well as a dependence on tradition-based cultural transmission. These eventually facilitated the acquisition of language by elevating the reproductive advantage afforded those most sensitive to social cues.

2. Richard S. Meindl et al. Early hominids may have been weed species, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1719669115

Abstract
Panid, gorillid, and hominid social structures appear to have diverged as dramatically as did their locomotor patterns as they emerged from a late Miocene last common ancestor (LCA). Despite their elimination of the sectorial canine complex and adoption of bipedality with its attendant removal of their ready access to the arboreal canopy, Australopithecus was able to easily invade novel habitats after florescence from its likely ancestral genus, Ardipithecus sp. Other hominoids, unable to sustain sufficient population growth, began an inexorable decline, culminating in their restriction to modern refugia. Success similar to that of earliest hominids also characterizes several species of macaques, often termed "weed species." We here review their most salient demographic features and find that a key element is irregularly elevated female survival. It is reasonable to conclude that a similar feature characterized early hominids, most likely made possible by the adoption of social monogamy. Reduced female mortality is a more probable key to early hominid success than a reduction in birth space, which would have been physiologically more difficult.


Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-brain-chem...l.html#jCp
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Reply
(12-29-2015, 04:47 PM)EA Wrote:  Recall:
Quote:"There was a great wave of genome change that swept into Europe from above the Black Sea into Bronze Age Europe and we now know it washed all the way to the shores of its most westerly island,"


First ancient Irish human genomes sequenced
December 28, 2015

[Image: 20-scientistsse.jpg]
Excavated near Belfast in 1855, she had lain in a Neolithic tomb chamber for 5,000 years; subsequently curated in Queens University Belfast. Credit: Daniel Bradley, Trinity College Dublin


A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast has sequenced the first genomes from ancient Irish humans, and the information buried within is already answering pivotal questions about the origins of Ireland's people and their culture.



The team sequenced the genome of an early farmer woman, who lived near Belfast some 5,200 years ago, and those of three men from a later period, around 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, after the introduction of metalworking. Their landmark results are published today in international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ireland has intriguing genetics. It lies at the edge of many European genetic gradients with world maxima for the variants that code for lactose tolerance, the western European Y chromosome type, and several important genetic diseases including one of excessive iron retention, called haemochromatosis.
However, the origins of this heritage are unknown. The only way to discover our genetic past is to sequence genomes directly from ancient people, by embarking on a type of genetic time travel.


Migration has been a hot topic in archaeology. Opinion has been divided on whether the great transitions in the British Isles, from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture and later from stone to metal use, were due to local adoption of new ways or whether these influences were derived from influxes of new people.
[Image: 21-scientistsse.jpg]
 The early farmer has a majority ancestry originating ultimately in the Middle East, where agriculture was invented.(back to the garden)
A reconstruction of the Ballynahatty Neolithic skull by Elizabeth Black. Her genes tell us she had black hair and brown eyes. Credit: Barrie Hartwell.

These ancient Irish genomes each show unequivocal evidence for massive migration. The early farmer has a majority ancestry originating ultimately in the Middle East, where agriculture was invented. The Bronze Age genomes are different again with about a third of their ancestry coming from ancient sources in the Pontic Steppe.
"There was a great wave of genome change that swept into Europe from above the Black Sea into Bronze Age Europe and we now know it washed all the way to the shores of its most westerly island," said Professor of Population Genetics in Trinity College Dublin, Dan Bradley, who led the study, "and this degree of genetic change invites the possibility of other associated changes, perhaps even the introduction of language ancestral to western Celtic tongues."
"It is clear that this project has demonstrated what a powerful tool ancient DNA analysis can provide in answering questions which have long perplexed academics regarding the origins of the Irish," said Dr Eileen Murphy, Senior Lecturer in Osteoarchaeology at Queen's University Belfast.





Whereas the early farmer had black hair, brown eyes and more resembled southern Europeans, the genetic variants circulating in the three Bronze Age men from Rathlin Island had the most common Irish Y chromosome type, blue eye alleles and the most important variant for the genetic disease, haemochromatosis.

The latter C282Y mutation is so frequent in people of Irish descent that it is sometimes referred to as a Celtic disease. This discovery therefore marks the first identification of an important disease variant in prehistory.
"Genetic affinity is strongest between the Bronze Age genomes and modern Irish, Scottish and Welsh, suggesting establishment of central attributes of the insular Celtic genome some 4,000 years ago," added PhD Researcher in Genetics at Trinity, Lara Cassidy.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture
More information: Neolithic and Bronze Age migration to Ireland and establishment of the insular Atlantic genome, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1518445113 
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences[Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Trinity College Dublin



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-12-ancient-iri...d.html#jCp

DNA Arrow  is the true way.

Historical migrations left genetic footprints on the Irish genome

January 25, 2018, Public Library of Science


[Image: historicalmi.jpg]
fineSTRUCTURE analysis demonstrates that haplotypes mirror geography across the British Isles as illustrated in A.) FineSTRUCTURE clustering dendrogram B.) Principle Component space. Administrative boundaries in map sourced from GADM (https://gadm.org). Credit: Ross P. Byrne and colleagues
A genome-wide study of the people of Ireland reveals a previously hidden genetic landscape, shaped through geography and historical migrations. Ross Byrne and Russell McLaughlin of Trinity College Dublin in Ireland report their findings January 25th, 2018 in PLOS Genetics.



In the 10,000 years that people have continuously inhabited the Emerald Isle, they have established distinct cultural and geographic regions. Previous studies, however, had found no clear genetic groups within the Irish population. In the current study, researchers took a more detailed look at genetic diversity across the islands. They analyzed genetic variation across almost 1,000 Irish genomes and over 6,000 genomes from Britain and mainland Europe. The study revealed 23 distinct Irish genetic clusters, separated by geography. The clusters are most distinct in western Ireland, but less pronounced in the east, where historical migrations have erased the genetic divisions. When the researchers took into account genetic contributions from people with British ancestry, a clear trend arose, showing input from Britain dropping off in populations to the west. The researchers also detected genetic input from Europe and estimated the timing of the historical migrations of the Norse-Vikings and the Anglo-Normans to Ireland, yielding dates that were consistent with historical records.
The study paints a new and more complex picture of the genetic landscape of Ireland, and demonstrates the signatures that historical migrations have left on the modern Irish genome. The findings also show that a distinct genetic structure can exist, even within small, isolated populations. The researchers suggest that this newly revealed structure should be taken into account in future studies that use the Irish population to identify the genetics underlying various traits and diseases.
On the impact of the study, Ross P. Byrne says: "This subtle genetic structure within such a small country has implications for medical genetic association studies. As it stands current corrections for population structure in study designs may not adequately account for this within country variation, which may potentially lead to false positive results emerging. We feel this will be particularly important in the analysis of rare variants as these are expected to be less uniformly distributed throughout a country. We intend to explore this further and identify if this structure should be accounted for in corrections.
Russell McLaughlin adds: "The long and complex history of population dynamics in Ireland has left an indelible mark on the genomes of modern inhabitants of the island. We have shown that, using only genetic data, we can accurately reconstruct elements of this past and demonstrate a striking correlation between geographical provenance and genetic affinity. Understanding this fine-grained population structure is crucially important for ongoing and future studies of rare genetic variation in health and disease."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: DNA from taxidermy specimens explains genetic structure of British and Irish goats
More information: Byrne RP, Martiniano R, Cassidy LM, Carrigan M, Hellenthal G, Hardiman O, et al. (2018) Insular Celtic population structure and genomic footprints of migration. PLoS Genet 14(1): e1007152. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007152

Journal reference: PLoS Genetics [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Public Library of Science


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-historical...s.html#jCp

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Northern European population history revealed by ancient human genomes
January 30, 2018, Max Planck Society


[Image: northerneuro.jpg]
Map showing locations and timeline of the samples introduced in this study. Credit: Mittnik et al. The Genetic Prehistory of the Baltic Sea Region. Nature Communications (2018).
An international team of scientists, led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, analyzed ancient human genomes from 38 northern Europeans dating from approximately 7,500 to 500 BCE. The study, published today in Nature Communications, found that Scandinavia was initially settled via a southern and a northern route and that the arrival of agriculture in northern Europe was facilitated by movements of farmers and pastoralists into the region.



Northern Europe could be considered a late bloomer in some aspects of human history: initial settlement by hunter-gatherers occurred only about 11,000 years ago, after the retreat of the lingering ice sheets from the Pleistocene, and while agriculture was already widespread in Central Europe 7,000 years ago, this development reached Southern Scandinavia and the Eastern Baltic only millennia later.
Several recent studies of ancient human genomes have dealt with the prehistoric population movements that brought new technology and subsistence strategies into Europe, but how they impacted the very north of the continent has still been poorly understood.
For this study, the research team, which included scientists from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and Sweden, assembled genomic data from 38 ancient northern Europeans, from mobile hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic (approximately 12,000 to 7,000 years ago) and the first Neolithic farmers in southern Sweden (approximately 6,000 to 5,300 years ago) to the metallurgists of the Late Bronze Age in the Eastern Baltic (approximately 1300 to 500 BCE). This allowed the researchers to uncover surprising aspects of the population dynamics of prehistoric northern Europe.
Two routes of settlement for Scandinavia
Previous analysis of ancient human genomes has revealed that two genetically differentiated groups of hunter-gatherers lived in Europe during the Mesolithic: the so-called Western Hunter-Gatherers excavated in locations from Iberia to Hungary, and the so-called Eastern Hunter-Gatherers excavated in Karelia in north-western Russia. Surprisingly, the results of the current study show that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from Lithuania appear very similar to their Western neighbors, despite their geographic proximity to Russia. The ancestry of contemporary Scandinavian hunter-gatherers, on the other hand, was comprised from both Western and Eastern Hunter-Gatherers.
[Image: 1-northerneuro.jpg]
Skull included in this study from Ölsund, Hälsingland, Sweden, dating to around 2,300 BCE, in the ancient DNA laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. Credit: Alissa Mittnik
"Eastern Hunter-Gatherers were not present on the eastern Baltic coast, but a genetic component from them is present in Scandinavia. This suggests that the people carrying this genetic component took a northern route through Fennoscandia into the southern part of the Scandinavian peninsula. There they genetically mixed with Western Hunter-Gatherers who came from the South, and together they formed the Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers," explains Johannes Krause, Director of the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, and senior author of the study.


Agriculture and animal herding - cultural imports by incoming people
Large-scale farming first started in southern Scandinavia around 6,000 years ago, about one millennium after it was already common in Central Europe. In the Eastern Baltic, the inhabitants relied solely on hunting, gathering and fishing for another 1000 years. Although some have argued that the use of the new subsistence strategy was a local development by foragers, possibly adopting the practices of their farming neighbors, the genetic evidence uncovered in the present study tells a different story.
The earliest farmers in Sweden are not descended from Mesolithic Scandinavians, but show a genetic profile similar to that of Central European agriculturalists. Thus it appears that Central Europeans migrated to Scandinavia and brought farming technology with them. These early Scandinavian farmers, like the Central European agriculturalists, inherited a substantial portion of their genes from Anatolian farmers, who first spread into Europe around 8,200 years ago and set in motion the cultural transition to agriculture known as the Neolithic Revolution.
Similarly, a near-total genetic turnover is seen in the Eastern Baltic with the advent of large-scale agro-pastoralism. While they did not mix genetically with Central European or Scandinavian farmers, beginning around 2,900 BCE the individuals in the Eastern Baltic derive large parts of their ancestry from nomadic pastoralists of the Pontic-Caspian steppe.
"Interestingly, we find an increase of local Eastern Baltic hunter-gatherer ancestry in this population at the onset of the Bronze Age," states Alissa Mittnik of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, lead author of the study. "The local population was not completely replaced but coexisted and eventually mixed with the newcomers."
This study emphasizes the regional differences of cultural transitions and sets the stage for more in-depth studies of later periods in northern European prehistory, such as the Iron Age and Viking Age.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Genomic data suggest two main migrations into Scandinavia after the last ice age
More information: Alissa Mittnik et al, The genetic prehistory of the Baltic Sea region, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-02825-9

Journal reference: Nature Communications [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: Max Planck Society


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-northern-e...d.html#jCp

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Quote:Just a week after scientists reported evidence that our species left Africa earlier than we thought, another discovery is suggesting the date might be pushed back further. Arrow

Homo sapiens arose in Africa at least 300,000 years ago and left to colonize the globe. Scientists think there were several dispersals from Africa, not all equally successful. Last week's report of a human jaw showed some members of our species had reached Israel by 177,000 to 194,000 years ago.

Now comes a discovery in India of stone tools, showing a style that has been associated elsewhere with our species.
They were fashioned from 385,000 years ago to 172,000 years agoHolycowsmile showing evidence of continuity and development over that time. That starting point is a lot earlier than scientists generally think Homo sapiens left Africa.


Stone tools in India suggest earlier human exit from Africa
January 31, 2018 by Malcolm Ritter


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Some typical artefacts from Middle Palaeolithic cultural phases at Attirampakkam. Credit: Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India

Just a week after scientists reported evidence that our species left Africa earlier than we thought, another discovery is suggesting the date might be pushed back further.

Homo sapiens arose in Africa at least 300,000 years ago and left to colonize the globe. Scientists think there were several dispersals from Africa, not all equally successful. Last week's report of a human jaw showed some members of our species had reached Israel by 177,000 to 194,000 years ago.

Now comes a discovery in India of stone tools, showing a style that has been associated elsewhere with our species. They were fashioned from 385,000 years ago to 172,000 years ago, showing evidence of continuity and development over that time. That starting point is a lot earlier than scientists generally think Homo sapiens left Africa.

This tool style has also been attributed to Neanderthals and possibly other species. So it's impossible to say whether the tools were made by Homo sapiens or some evolutionary cousin, say researchers who reported the finding Wednesday in the journal Nature .

"We are very cautious on this point" because no human fossils were found with the tools, several authors added in a statement.

It's not clear how much the tool development reflects arrival of populations or ideas from outside India, versus being more of a local development, said one author, Shanti Pappu of the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education in Chennai, India.

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Middle Palaeolithic artefacts emerging during excavation at Attirampakkam. Credit: Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India
The tool-making style was a change from older stone tools found at the site, featuring a shift to smaller flakes, for example.

Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist who specializes in human evolution in Asia but didn't participate in the work, said he did not think the tools show that our species had left Africa so long ago.

"I simply don't buy it," said Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

Instead, he said, he believes one of our evolutionary cousins in India developed the tool style independently of outside influence. The tools at the site northwest of Chennai in southeastern India are closely related to the older tool-making style there and seem to represent a transition, he said.

[Image: 5a72094921c77.jpg]
Middle Palaeolithic artefacts from excavations at Attirampakkam. Credit: Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India
The idea that they reflect knowledge brought in from elsewhere would be tough to prove in India, he said. The country has few well-studied archaeological sites and only one fossil find from this period, from a forerunner of Homo sapiens that was associated with the earlier style of tool-making, Petraglia said.

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Moroccan fossil find rearranges Homo sapiens family tree

More information: Kumar Akhilesh et al. Early Middle Palaeolithic culture in India around 385–172 ka reframes Out of Africa models, Nature (2018). DOI: 10.1038/nature25444


Journal reference: Nature


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-stone-tool...n.html#jCp




Reconstructing an ancient lethal weapon

January 31, 2018 by Kim Eckart, University of Washington


[Image: reconstructi.jpg]
University of Washington researchers re-created ancient projectile points to test their effectiveness. From left to right: stone, microblade and bone tips. Credit: Janice Wood
Archaeologists are a little like forensic investigators: They scour the remains of past societies, looking for clues in pottery, tools and bones about how people lived, and how they died.


And just as detectives might re-create the scene of a crime, University of Washington archaeologists have re-created the weapons used by hunter-gatherers in the post-Ice Age Arctic some 14,000 years ago. Looking for clues as to how those early people advanced their own technology, researchers also considered what that might tell us about human migration, ancient climates and the fate of some animal species.
In an article published Jan. 31 in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Janice Wood, recent UW anthropology graduate, and Ben Fitzhugh, a UW professor of anthropology, show how they reconstructed prehistoric projectiles and points from ancient sites in what is now Alaska and studied the qualities that would make for a lethal hunting weapon.
The UW team chose to study hunting weapons from the time of the earliest archaeological record in Alaska (around 10,000 to 14,000 years ago), a time that is less understood archaeologically, and when different kinds of projectile points were in use. Team members designed a pair of experiments to test the effectiveness of the different point types. By examining and testing different points in this way, the team has come to a new understanding about the technological choices people made in ancient times.
"The hunter-gatherers of 12,000 years ago were more sophisticated than we give them credit for," Fitzhugh said. "We haven't thought of hunter-gatherers in the Pleistocene as having that kind of sophistication, but they clearly did for the things that they had to manage in their daily lives, such as hunting game. They had a very comprehensive understanding of different tools, and the best tools for different prey and shot conditions."
Prior research has focused on the flight ballistics of the hunting weapons in general, and no prior study has looked specifically at the ballistics of tools used in Siberia and the Arctic regions of North America just after the Ice Age. In addition to foraging for plants and berries (when available), nomadic groups hunted caribou, reindeer and other animals for food, typically with spears or darts (thrown from atlatl boards). Without preservation of the wood shafts, these tools are mainly differentiated in the archaeological record by their stone and bone points. But it was not known how effective different kinds of points were in causing lethal injury to prey.


Nor is it known, definitively, whether different types of points were associated with only certain groups of people, or whether with the same groups used certain point types to specialize on particular kinds of game or hunting practices. It is generally accepted that different point types were developed in Africa and Eurasia and brought to Alaska before the end of the Ice Age. These included rudimentary points made of sharpened bone, antler or ivory; more intricate, flaked stone tips popularly familiar as "arrowheads"; and a composite point made of bone or antler with razor blade-like stone microblades embedded around the edges.
The three likely were invented at separate times but remained in use during the same period because each presumably had its own advantages, Wood said. Learning how they functioned informs what we know about prehistoric hunters and the repercussions of their practices.
So Wood traveled to the area around Fairbanks, Alaska, and crafted 30 projectile points, 10 of each kind. She tried to stay as true to the original materials and manufacturing processes as possible, using poplar projectiles, and birch tar as an adhesive to affix the points to the tips of the projectiles. While ancient Alaskans used atlatls (a kind of throwing board), Wood used a maple recurve bow to shoot the arrows for greater control and precision.
  • For the bone tip, modeled on a 12,000-year-old ivory point from an Alaskan archaeological site, Wood used a multipurpose tool to grind a commercially purchased cow bone;
  • For the stone tip, she used a hammerstone to strike obsidian into flakes, then shaped them into points modeled on those found at another site in Alaska from 13,000 years ago;
  • And for the composite microblade tip—modeled microblade technologies seen in Alaska since at least 13,000 years ago and a rare, preserved grooved antler point from a more recent Alaskan site used more than 8,000 years ago—Wood used a saw and sandpaper to grind a caribou antler to a point. She then used the multipurpose tool to gouge out a groove around its perimeter, into which she inserted obsidian microblades.
Wood then tested how well each point could penetrate and damage two different targets: blocks of ballistic gelatin (a clear synthetic gelatin meant to mimic animal muscle tissue) and a fresh reindeer carcass, purchased from a local farm. Wood conducted her trials over seven hours on a December day, with an average outdoor temperature of minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Wood's field trial, the composite microblade points were more effective than simple stone or bone on smaller prey, showing the greatest versatility and ability to cause incapacitating damage no matter where they struck the animal's body. But the stone and bone points had their own strengths: Bone points penetrated deeply but created narrower wounds, suggesting their potential for puncturing and stunning larger prey (such as bison or mammoth); the stone points could have cut wider wounds, especially on large prey (moose or bison), resulting in a quicker kill.
Wood said the findings show that hunters during this period were sophisticated enough to recognize the best point to use, and when. Hunters worked in groups; they needed to complete successful hunts, in the least amount of time, and avoid risk to themselves.
"We have shown how each point has its own performance strengths," she said. Bone points punctured effectively, flaked stone created a greater incision, and the microblade was best for lacerated wounds. "It has to do with the animal itself; animals react differently to different wounds. And it would have been important to these nomadic hunters to bring the animal down efficiently. They were hunting for food."
Weapon use can shed light on the movement of people and animals as humans spread across the globe and how ecosystems changed before, during and after the ice ages.
"The findings of our paper have relevance to the understanding of ballistic properties affecting hunting success anywhere in the world people lived during the 99 percent of human history that falls between the invention of stone tools more than 3 million years ago in Africa and the origins of agriculture," Fitzhugh said.
It could also inform debates on whether human hunting practices directly led to the extinction of some species. The team's findings and other research show that our ancestors were thinking about effectiveness and efficiency, Wood said, which may have influenced which animals they targeted. An animal that was easier to kill may have been targeted more often, which could, along with changing climates, explain why animals such as the horse disappeared from the Arctic. A shot to the lung was lethal for early equines, Wood said, but a caribou could keep going.
"I see this line of research as looking at the capacity of the human brain to come up with innovations that ultimately changed the course of human history," she said. "This reveals the human capacity to invent in extreme circumstances, to figure out a need and a way to meet that need that made it easier to eat and minimized the risk."
Upon completion of the experiment, the bones were sterilized for future study of projectile impact marks.
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Early evidence of Middle Stone Age projectiles found in South Africa's Sibudu Cave
More information: Janice Wood et al, Wound ballistics: The prey specific implications of penetrating trauma injuries from osseous, flaked stone, and composite inset microblade projectiles during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition, Alaska U.S.A., Journal of Archaeological Science (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.10.006

Journal reference: Journal of Archaeological Science [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Washington


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-01-reconstruc...n.html#jCp

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ol' blue eyes...



Quote:The findings suggest that lighter pigmentation being a feature of populations of northern Europe is more recent than previously thought.


DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyes
February 7, 2018


[Image: areconstruct.jpg]
A reconstruction model from the skull of 'Cheddar Man' after DNA analysis of the 10,000-year-old skeleton shows early Britons had dark skin and blue eyes
The first modern Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, London scientists said on Wednesday, following groundbreaking DNA analysis of the remains of a man who lived 10,000 years ago.
Known as "Cheddar Man" after the area in southwest England where his skeleton was discovered in a cave in 1903, the ancient man has been brought to life through the first ever full DNA analysis of his remains.
In a joint project between Britain's Natural History Museum and University College London, scientists drilled a 2mm hole into the skull and extracted bone powder for analysis.
Their findings transformed the way they had previously seen Cheddar Man, who had been portrayed as having brown eyes and light skin in an earlier model.
"It is very surprising that a Brit 10,000 years ago could have that combination of very blue eyes but really dark skin," said the museum's Chris Stringer, who for the past decade has analysed the bones of people found in the cave.
The findings suggest that lighter pigmentation being a feature of populations of northern Europe is more recent than previously thought.
Cheddar Man's tribe migrated to Britain at the end of the last Ice Age and his DNA has been linked to individuals discovered in modern-day Spain, Hungary and Luxembourg.
[Image: modelmakersa.jpg]
Model makers Adrie (L) and Alfons Kennis created the bust of 'Cheddar Man' using a high-tech scanner which had been designed for the International Space Station
Selina Brace, a researcher of ancient DNA at the museum, said the cave environment Cheddar Man was found in helped preserve his remains.
"In the cave you have a really nice, cool, dry, constant environment, and that basically prevents the DNA from breaking down," she said.
A bust of Cheddar Man, complete with shoulder-length dark hair and short facial hair, was created using 3D printing.
It took close to three months to build the model, with its makers using a high-tech scanner which had been designed for the International Space Station.
Alfons Kennis, who made the bust with his brother Adrie, said the DNA findings were "revolutionary".
"It's a story all about migrations throughout history," he told Channel 4 in a documentary to be aired on February 18.
"It maybe gets rid of the idea that you have to look a certain way to be from somewhere. We are all immigrants," he added.


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-dna-modern...n.html#jCp




Dig site in Tuscany reveals Neanderthals used fire to make tools
February 6, 2018 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org report


[Image: 5a799c6e146fa.jpg]
Poggetti Vecchi, Grosseto (Italy). This is a general view of the excavation. Credit: PNAS
A team of researchers from several institutions in Italy has found evidence of Neanderthals using fire to craft tools approximately 171,000 years ago. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group outlines where the naturally preserved wood artifacts were found and how they discovered their purpose.


Wood, as the researchers note, has always been a popular material for crafting tools and weapons. It is readily at hand and can be relatively easily crafted to allow for specific uses. In this new effort, the researchers describe meter-long sticks that had been rounded at one end and sharpened at the other, suggesting a digging stick. Digging sticks are still used today—they are useful for digging up roots and tubers and can be used to hunt animals that burrow underground. In a pinch, they can also be used as a weapon. The sticks were found at a site in Tuscany, Italy, called Poggetti Vecchi—an area that has previously given up Neanderthal artifacts.
In studying the sticks, the researchers found them to be made from boxwood, a particularly hard wood. They also discovered that the tips had been charred, likely as a means of removing stubborn bark. The team noted that the sticks had been charred in a consistent pattern in the same part of multiple sticks, which suggests it was intentional. Charring would have softened the bark, making it easier to remove. They also noted cut marks and striations on the shafts of the sticks, evidence of stone tool use to fashion an ordinary stick into a useful tool. The team notes that modern hunter-gatherers use roughly the same technique in making their digging sticks. The team dated the sticks back to approximately 171,000 years ago, putting them in the Middle Paleocene, a period when Neanderthal were dominant in the area.
[Image: 5a799cff6ecbe.jpg]
Detail of the handle of digging stick no. 2 on the paleosurface U2 of the Poggetti Vecchi site. Credit: PNAS
The find marks the earliest evidence of fire use by Neanderthals and of tool use by female members of a group—it is the women in modern hunter-gatherer groups that use digging sticks.
[Image: 5a799c82aa9e4.jpg]
Poggetti Vecchi, Grosseto (Italy). This is the excavation of the tusk of a straight-tusked elephant. Credit: PNAS
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: High-speed video study reveals the nature of the cobra wave
More information: Biancamaria Aranguren et al. Wooden tools and fire technology in the early Neanderthal site of Poggetti Vecchi (Italy), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1716068115
Abstract
Excavations for the construction of thermal pools at Poggetti Vecchi (Grosseto, Tuscany, central Italy) exposed a series of wooden tools in an open-air stratified site referable to late Middle Pleistocene. The wooden artifacts were uncovered, together with stone tools and fossil bones, largely belonging to the straight-tusked elephant Paleoloxodon antiquus. The site is radiometrically dated to around 171,000 y B.P., and hence correlated with the early marine isotope stage 6 [Benvenuti M, et al. (2017) Quat Res 88:327–344]. The sticks, all fragmentary, are made from boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) and were over 1 m long, rounded at one end and pointed at the other. They have been partially charred, possibly to lessen the labor of scraping boxwood, using a technique so far not documented at the time. The wooden artifacts have the size and features of multipurpose tools known as "digging sticks," which are quite commonly used by foragers. This discovery from Poggetti Vecchi provides evidence of the processing and use of wood by early Neanderthals, showing their ability to use fire in tool making from very tough wood.

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-site-tusca...s.html#jCp

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Quote:"It's a fascinating finding. Many history books will tell you that the indigenous population of the Caribbean was all but wiped out, but people who self-identify as Taíno have always argued for continuity. Now we know they were right all along: there has been some form of genetic continuity in the Caribbean."

Willerslev, who has dual posts at St John's College, University of Cambridge, and the University of Copenhagen, said: "It has always been clear that people in the Caribbean have Native American ancestry, but because the region has such a complex history of migration, it was difficult to prove whether this was specifically indigenous to the Caribbean, until now."
What we learned in school can for the most part either be used as a general frame-work and set of loose guidelines or just go ahead and toss all that bull-shit in the trash and just start fresh here
Jorge Estevez, a Taíno descendant who works at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York and assisted the project team, said that as a boy growing up in the United States, he was told stories about his Taíno ancestors at home, but at school was taught that the same ancestors had died out. "I wish my grandmother were alive today so that I could confirm to her what she already knew," he added. "It shows that the true story is one of assimilation, certainly, but not total extinction. I am genuinely grateful to the researchers. Although this may have been a matter of scientific inquiry for them, to us, the descendants, it is truly liberating and uplifting."



Study identifies traces of indigenous 'Taino' in present-day Caribbean populations
February 19, 2018, University of Cambridge

[Image: 5a8ab9cc183d9.jpg]
First encounter. Columbus landing in the New World (Image courtesy of Library of Congress).
A thousand-year-old tooth has provided genetic evidence that the so-called "Taíno", the first indigenous Americans to feel the full impact of European colonisation after Columbus arrived in the New World, still have living descendants in the Caribbean today.
Researchers were able to use the tooth of a woman found in a cave on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas to sequence the first complete ancient human genome from the Caribbean. The woman lived at some point between the 8th and 10th centuries, at least 500 years before Columbus made landfall in the Bahamas.
The results provide unprecedented insights into the genetic makeup of the Taíno - a label commonly used to describe the indigenous people of that region. This includes the first clear evidence that there has been some degree of continuity between the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and contemporary communities living in the region today.
Such a link had previously been suggested by other studies based on modern DNA. None of these, however, was able to draw on an ancient genome. The new research finally provides concrete proof that indigenous ancestry in the region has survived to the present day.
Comparing the ancient Bahamian genome to those of contemporary Puerto Ricans, the researchers found that they were more closely related to the ancient Taíno than any other indigenous group in the Americas. However, they argue that this characteristic is unlikely to be exclusive to Puerto Ricans alone and are convinced that future studies will reveal similar genetic legacies in other Caribbean communities.
[Image: 5a8ab9e422a2f.jpg]
Entrance of Preacher’s Cave where the tooth was found that was used to reconstruct the ancient genome . Credit: Jane Day
The findings are likely to be especially significant for people in the Caribbean and elsewhere who have long claimed indigenous Taíno heritage, despite some historical narratives that inaccurately brand them "extinct". Such misrepresentations have been heavily criticised by historians and archaeologists, as well as by descendant communities themselves, but until now they lacked clear genetic evidence to support their case.
The study was carried out by an international team of researchers led by Dr Hannes Schroeder and Professor Eske Willerslev within the framework of the ERC Synergy project NEXUS1492. The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Lead author Schroeder, from the University of Copenhagen who carried out the research as part of the NEXUS1492 project, said: "It's a fascinating finding. Many history books will tell you that the indigenous population of the Caribbean was all but wiped out, but people who self-identify as Taíno have always argued for continuity. Now we know they were right all along: there has been some form of genetic continuity in the Caribbean."

Willerslev, who has dual posts at St John's College, University of Cambridge, and the University of Copenhagen, said: "It has always been clear that people in the Caribbean have Native American ancestry, but because the region has such a complex history of migration, it was difficult to prove whether this was specifically indigenous to the Caribbean, until now."
The researchers were also able to trace the genetic origins of the indigenous Caribbean islanders, showing that they were most closely related to Arawakan-speaking groups who live in parts of northern South America today. This suggests that the origins of at least some the people who migrated to the Caribbean can be traced back to the Amazon and Orinoco Basins, where the Arawakan languages developed.
[Image: 5a8ab9f3e58bc.jpg]
Mandible from Preacher’s Cave. Credit: Jane Day
The Caribbean was one of the last parts of the Americas to be populated by humans starting around 8,000 years ago. By the time of European colonization, the islands were a complex patchwork of different societies and cultures. The "Taíno" culture was dominant in the Greater, and parts of the Lesser Antilles, as well as the Bahamas, where the people were known as Lucayans.
To trace the genetic origins of the Lucayans the researchers compared the ancient Bahamian genome with previously published genome-wide datasets for over 40 present-day indigenous groups from the Americas. In addition, they looked for traces of indigenous Caribbean ancestry in present-day populations by comparing the ancient genome with those of 104 contemporary Puerto Ricans included in the 1000 Genomes Project. The 10-15% of Native American ancestry in this group was shown to be closely related to the ancient Bahamian genome.
Jorge Estevez, a Taíno descendant who works at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York and assisted the project team, said that as a boy growing up in the United States, he was told stories about his Taíno ancestors at home, but at school was taught that the same ancestors had died out. "I wish my grandmother were alive today so that I could confirm to her what she already knew," he added. "It shows that the true story is one of assimilation, certainly, but not total extinction. I am genuinely grateful to the researchers. Although this may have been a matter of scientific inquiry for them, to us, the descendants, it is truly liberating and uplifting."
Although indigenous Caribbean communities were island-based, the researchers found very little genomic evidence of isolation or inbreeding in the ancient genome. This reinforces earlier genetic research led by Willerslev, which suggests that early human communities developed surprisingly extensive social networks, long before the term had digital connotations. It also echoes ongoing work by researchers at the Faculty of Archaeology in Leiden and others indicating the connectedness of indigenous Caribbean communities.
Professor Corinne Hofman from Leiden University and PI of the NEXUS1492 project, said: "Archaeological evidence has always suggested that large numbers of people who settled the Caribbean originated in South America, and that they maintained social networks that extended far beyond the local scale. Historically, it has been difficult to back this up with ancient DNA because of poor preservation, but this study demonstrates that it is possible to obtain ancient genomes from the Caribbean and that opens up fascinating new possibilities for research."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Drones help write new history of Caribbean
More information: Hannes Schroeder el al., "Origins and genetic legacies of the Caribbean Taino," PNAS (2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1716839115

Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Image: img-dot.gif] [Image: img-dot.gif]
Provided by: University of Cambridge
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For archeologists, these and other findings from the study of ancient DNA are "absolutely sort of mind-blowing," says archaeologist Barry Cunliffe, a professor emeritus at the University of Oxford. "They are going to upset people, but that is part of the excitement of it."

Ancient DNA tells tales of humans' migrant history
February 21, 2018, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


[Image: ancientdnate.jpg]
DNA from people from the Bell Beaker culture (illustration of one man shown) reveal that they descended from nomadic herders who migrated from the steppes of Central Asia. Credit: Manuel Rojo-Guerra/ Luis Pascual-Repiso
Scientists once could reconstruct humanity's distant past only from the mute testimony of ancient settlements, bones, and artifacts.


No longer. Now there's a powerful new approach for illuminating the world before the dawn of written history—reading the actual genetic code of our ancient ancestors. Two papers published in the journal Nature on February 21, 2018, more than double the number of ancient humans whose DNA has been analyzed and published to 1,336 individuals—up from just 10 in 2014.
The new flood of genetic information represents a "coming of age" for the nascent field of ancient DNA, says lead author David Reich, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Harvard Medical School—and it upends cherished archeological orthodoxy. "When we look at the data, we see surprises again and again and again," says Reich.
Together with his lab's previous work and that of other pioneers of ancient DNA, the Big Picture message is that our prehistoric ancestors were not nearly as homebound as once thought. "There was a view that migration is a very rare process in human evolution," Reich explains. Not so, says the ancient DNA. Actually, Reich says, "the orthodoxy—the assumption that present-day people are directly descended from the people who always lived in that same area—is wrong almost everywhere."
Instead, "the view that's emerging—for which David is an eloquent advocate—is that human populations are moving and mixing all the time," says John Novembre, a computational biologist at the University of Chicago.
Stonehenge's Builders Largely Vanish
In one of the new papers, Reich and a cast of dozens of collaborators chart the spread of an ancient culture known by its stylized bell-shaped pots, the so-called Bell Beaker phenomenon. This culture first spread between Iberia and central Europe beginning about 4,700 years ago. By analyzing DNA from several hundred samples of human bones, Reich's team shows that only the ideas—not the people who originated them—made the move initially. That's because the genes of the Iberian population remain distinct from those of the central Europeans who adopted the characteristic pots and other artifacts.
But the story changes when the Bell Beaker culture expanded to Britain after 4,500 years ago. Then, it was brought by migrants who almost completely supplanted the island's existing inhabitants—the mysterious people who had built Stonehenge—within a few hundred years. "There was a sudden change in the population of Britain," says Reich. "It was an almost complete replacement."


For archeologists, these and other findings from the study of ancient DNA are "absolutely sort of mind-blowing," says archaeologist Barry Cunliffe, a professor emeritus at the University of Oxford. "They are going to upset people, but that is part of the excitement of it."
Vast Migration from the Steppe
Consider the unexpected movement of people who originally lived on the steppes of Central Asia, north of the Black and Caspian seas. About 5,300 years ago, the local hunter-gatherer cultures were replaced in many places by nomadic herders, dubbed the Yamnaya, who were able to expand rapidly by exploiting horses and the new invention of the cart, and who left behind big, rich burial sites.
Archeologists have long known that some of the technologies used by the Yamnaya later spread to Europe. But the startling revelation from the ancient DNA was that the people moved, too—all the way to the Atlantic coast of Europe in the west to Mongolia in the east and India in the south. This vast migration helps explain the spread of Indo-European languages. And it significantly replaced the local hunter-gatherer genes across Europe with the indelible stamp of steppe DNA, as happened in Britain with the migration of the Bell Beaker people to the island.
[Image: 1-ancientdnate.jpg]
The use of stylized bell-shaped pots like this one from Sierentz, France spread across Europe beginning about 4,700 years ago. DNA analysis show that this so-called Bell Beaker culture was brought to Britain by people who largely replaced …more
"This whole phenomenon of the steppe expansion is an amazing example of what ancient DNA can show," says Reich. And, adds Cunliffe, "no one, not even archeologists in their wildest dreams, had expected such a high steppe genetic content in the populations of northern Europe in the third millennium B.C."
This ancient DNA finding also explains the "strange result" of a genetic connection that had been hinted at in the genomes of modern-day Europeans and Native Americans, adds Chicago's Novembre. The link is evidence from people who lived in Siberia 24,000 years ago, whose telltale DNA is found both in Native Americans, and in the Yamnaya steppe populations and their European descendants.
New Insights from Southeastern Europe
Reich's second new Nature paper, on the genomic history of southeastern Europe, reveals an additional migration as farming spread across Europe, based on data from 255 individuals who lived between 14,000 and 2,500 years ago. It also adds a fascinating new nugget—the first compelling evidence that the genetic mixing of populations in Europe was biased toward one sex.
Hunter-gatherer genes remaining in northern Europeans after the influx of migrating farmers came more from males than females, Reich's team found. "Archaeological evidence shows that when farmers first spread into northern Europe, they stopped at a latitude where their crops didn't grow well," he says. "As a result, there were persistent boundaries between the farmers and the hunter-gatherers for a couple of thousand years." This gave the hunter-gatherers and farmers a long time to interact. According to Reich, one speculative scenario is that during this long, drawn-out interaction, there was a social or power dynamic in which farmer women tended to be integrated into hunter-gatherer communities.
So far that's only a guess, but the fact that ancient DNA provides clues about the different social roles and fates of men and women in ancient society "is another way, I think, that these data are so extraordinary," says Reich.
Advanced Machines
These scientific leaps forward have been fueled by three key developments. One is the dramatic cost reduction (and speed increase) in gene sequencing made possible by advanced machines from Illumina and other companies. The second is a discovery spearheaded by Ron Pinhasi, an archaeologist at University College Dublin. His group showed that the petrous bone, containing the tiny inner ear, harbors 100 times more DNA than other ancient human remains, offering a huge increase in the amount of genetic material available for analysis. The third is a method implemented by Reich for reading the genetic codes of 1.2 million carefully chosen variable parts of DNA (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms) rather than having to sequence entire genomes. That speeds the analysis and reduces its cost even further.
The new field made a splash when Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, working with Reich and many other colleagues, used ancient DNA to prove that Neanderthals and humans interbred. Since then, the number of ancient humans whose DNA Reich has analyzed has risen exponentially. His lab has generated about three-quarters of the world's published data and, included unpublished data, has now reached 3,700 genomes. "Every time we jump an order of magnitude in the number of individuals, we can answer questions that we couldn't even have asked before," says Reich.
Now, with hundreds of thousands of ancient skeletons (and their petrous bones) still to be analyzed, the field of ancient DNA is poised to both pin down current questions and tackle new ones. For example, Reich's team is working with Cunliffe and others to study more than 1,000 samples from Britain to more accurately measure the replacement of the island's existing gene pool by the steppe-related DNA from the Bell Beaker people. "The evidence we have for a 90 percent replacement is very, very suggestive, but we need to test it a bit more to see how much of the pre-Beaker population really survived," explains Cunliffe.
Beyond that, ancient DNA offers the promise of studying not only the movements of our distant ancestors, but also the evolution of traits and susceptibilities to diseases. "This is a new scientific instrument that, like the microscope when it was invented in the seventeenth century, makes it possible to study aspects of biology that simply were not possible to examine before," explains Reich. In one example, scientists at the University of Copenhagen found DNA from plague in the steppe populations. If the groups that migrated to Britain after 4,500 years ago brought the disease with them, that could help explain why the existing population shrank so quickly.
With the possibility of many such discoveries still ahead, "it is a very exciting time," says Cunliffe. "Ancient DNA is going to revitalize archeology in a way that few of us could have guessed even ten years ago."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Northern European population history revealed by ancient human genomes
More information: Iain Mathieson et al., "The genomic history of southeastern Europe." Nature. Published online February 21, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/nature25778
Iñigo Olalde et al., "The Beaker phenomenon and the genomic transformation of northwest Europe." Nature. Published online February 21, 2018. DOI: 10.1038/nature25738




Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-ancient-dn...t.html#jCp

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[Image: 3-newalgorithm.jpg]
New algorithm can pinpoint mutations favored by natural selection in large sections of the human genome
A team of scientists has developed an algorithm that can accurately pinpoint, in large regions of the human genome, mutations favored by natural selection. The finding provides deeper insight into how evolution works, and ...
[Image: 1x1.gif]Feb 20, 2018 in Genetics

 
New software helps detect adaptive genetic mutations
Researchers from Brown University have developed a new method for sifting through genomic data in search of genetic variants that have helped populations adapt to their environments. The technique, dubbed SWIF®, could be ...
[Image: 1x1.gif]Feb 20, 2018 in Genetics


[Image: plantscoloni.jpg]
Plants colonized the Earth 100 million years earlier than previously thought
For the first four billion years of Earth's history, our planet's continents would have been devoid of all life except microbes.
[Image: 1x1.gif]Feb 19, 2018 in Earth Sciences



New paper links ancient drawings and the origins of language

February 21, 2018 by Peter Dizikes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


[Image: newpaperlink.jpg]
While the world’s best-known cave art exists in France and Spain, examples of it abound throughout the world. Credit: stock image of a cave painting in South Africa
When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor.

More precisely, some specific features of cave art may provide clues about how our symbolic, multifaceted language capabilities evolved, according to a new paper co-authored by MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa.

A key to this idea is that cave art is often located in acoustic "hot spots," where sound echoes strongly, as some scholars have observed. Those drawings are located in deeper, harder-to-access parts of caves, indicating that acoustics was a principal reason for the placement of drawings within caves. The drawings, in turn, may represent the sounds that early humans generated in those spots.

In the new paper, this convergence of sound and drawing is what the authors call a "cross-modality information transfer," a convergence of auditory information and visual art that, the authors write, "allowed early humans to enhance their ability to convey symbolic thinking." The combination of sounds and images is one of the things that characterizes human language today, along with its symbolic aspect and its ability to generate infinite new sentences.

"Cave art was part of the package deal in terms of how homo sapiens came to have this very high-level cognitive processing," says Miyagawa, a professor of linguistics and the Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture at MIT. "You have this very concrete cognitive process that converts an acoustic signal into some mental representation and externalizes it as a visual."

Cave artists were thus not just early-day Monets, drawing impressions of the outdoors at their leisure. Rather, they may have been engaged in a process of communication.

"I think it's very clear that these artists were talking to one another," Miyagawa says. "It's a communal effort."

The paper, "Cross-modality information transfer: A hypothesis about the relationship among prehistoric cave paintings, symbolic thinking, and the emergence of language," is being published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The authors are Miyagawa; Cora Lesure, a Ph.D. student in MIT's Department of Linguistics; and Vitor A. Nobrega, a Ph.D. student in linguistics at the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil.


The advent of language in human history is unclear. Our species is estimated to be about 200,000 years old. Human language is often considered to be at least 100,000 years old.
"It's very difficult to try to understand how human language itself appeared in evolution," Miyagawa says, noting that "we don't know 99.9999 percent of what was going on back then." However, he adds, "There's this idea that language doesn't fossilize, and it's true, but maybe in these artifacts [cave drawings], we can see some of the beginnings of homo sapiens as symbolic beings."
While the world's best-known cave art exists in France and Spain, examples of it abound throughout the world. One form of cave art suggestive of symbolic thinking—geometric engravings on pieces of ochre, from the Blombos Cave in southern Africa—has been estimated to be at least 70,000 years old. Such symbolic art indicates a cognitive capacity that humans took with them to the rest of the world.
"Cave art is everywhere," Miyagawa says. "Every major continent inhabited by homo sapiens has cave art. … You find it in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, everywhere, just like human language." In recent years, for instance, scholars have catalogued Indonesian cave art they believe to be roughly 40,000 years old, older than the best-known examples of European cave art.
But what exactly was going on in caves where people made noise and rendered things on walls? Some scholars have suggested that acoustic "hot spots" in caves were used to make noises that replicate hoofbeats, for instance; some 90 percent of cave drawings involve hoofed animals. These drawings could represent stories or the accumulation of knowledge, or they could have been part of rituals.
In any of these scenarios, Miyagawa suggests, cave art displays properties of language in that "you have action, objects, and modification." This parallels some of the universal features of human language—verbs, nouns, and adjectives—and Miyagawa suggests that "acoustically based cave art must have had a hand in forming our cognitive symbolic mind."
Future research: More decoding needed
To be sure, the ideas proposed by Miyagawa, Lesure, and Nobrega merely outline a working hypothesis, which is intended to spur additional thinking about language's origins and point toward new research questions.
Regarding the cave art itself, that could mean further scrutiny of the syntax of the visual representations, as it were. "We've got to look at the content" more thoroughly, says Miyagawa. In his view, as a linguist who has looked at images of the famous Lascaux cave art from France, "you see a lot of language in it." But it remains an open question how much a re-interpretation of cave art images would yield in linguistics terms.
The long-term timeline of cave art is also subject to re-evaluation on the basis of any future discoveries. If cave art is implicated in the development of human language, finding and properly dating the oldest known such drawings would help us place the orgins of language in human history—which may have happened fairly early on in our development.
"What we need is for someone to go and find in Africa cave art that is 120,000 years old," Miyagawa quips.
At a minimum, a further consideration of cave art as part of our cognitive development may reduce our tendency to regard art in terms of our own experience, in which it probably plays a more strictly decorative role for more people.
"If this is on the right track, it's quite possible that … cross-modality transfer helped develop a symbolic mind," Miyagawa says. In that case, he adds, "art is not just something that is marginal to our culture, but central to the formation of our cognitive abilities."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Archaeologists in Mexico claim world's longest flooded cave



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-paper-link...e.html#jCp

[url=https://phys.org/news/2018-02-paper-links-ancient-language.html#jCp]
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New paper links ancient drawings and the origins of language


February 21, 2018 by Peter Dizikes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


[Image: newpaperlink.jpg]
While the world’s best-known cave art exists in France and Spain, examples of it abound throughout the world. Credit: stock image of a cave painting in South Africa
When and where did humans develop language? To find out, look deep inside caves, suggests an MIT professor.

More precisely, some specific features of cave art may provide clues about how our symbolic, multifaceted language capabilities evolved, according to a new paper co-authored by MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa.

A key to this idea is that cave art is often located in acoustic "hot spots," where sound echoes strongly, as some scholars have observed. Those drawings are located in deeper, harder-to-access parts of caves, indicating that acoustics was a principal reason for the placement of drawings within caves. The drawings, in turn, may represent the sounds that early humans generated in those spots... Naughty




 
Neuroscientists discover a brain signal that indicates whether speech has been understood
February 22, 2018, Trinity College Dublin

[Image: 6-neuroscienti.jpg]
When a listener understands speech, a strong response signal is seen over the mid back part of their scalp (top row; blue and green waveforms show response at two specific recording locations). When they can't understand (because, for example, the speech is played backwards), the signal completely disappears (bottom row; red and yellow waveforms show the lack of response at the same two specific recording locations). Credit: Professor Ed Lalor.
Neuroscientists from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Rochester have identified a specific brain signal associated with the conversion of speech into understanding. The signal is present when the listener has understood what they have heard, but it is absent when they either did not understand, or weren't paying attention.

The uniqueness of the signal means that it could have a number of potential applications, such as tracking language development in infants, assessing brain function in unresponsive patients, or determining the early onset of dementia in older persons.
During our everyday interactions, we routinely speak at rates of 120 - 200 words per minute. For listeners to understand speech at these rates - and to not lose track of the conversation - their brains must comprehend the meaning of each of these words very rapidly. It is an amazing feat of the human brain that we do this so easily—especially given that the meaning of words can vary greatly depending on the context. For example, the word bat means very different things in the following two sentences: "I saw a bat flying overhead last night"; "The baseball player hit a homerun with his favourite bat."
However, precisely how our brains compute the meaning of words in context has, until now, remained unclear. The new approach, published today in the international journal Current Biology, shows that our brains perform a rapid computation of the similarity in meaning that each word has to the words that have come immediately before it.
To discover this, the researchers began by exploiting state-of-the-art techniques that allow modern computers and smartphones to "understand" speech. These techniques are quite different to how humans operate. Human evolution has been such that babies come more or less hardwired to learn how to speak based on a relatively small number of speech examples. Computers on the other hand need a tremendous amount of training, but because they are fast, they can accomplish this training very quickly. Thus, one can train a computer by giving it a lot of examples (e.g., all of Wikipedia) and by asking it to recognise which pairs of words appear together a lot and which don't. By doing this, the computer begins to "understand" that words that appear together regularly, like "cake" and "pie", must mean something similar. And, in fact, the computer ends up with a set of numerical measures capturing how similar any word is to any other.
[Image: 7-neuroscienti.jpg]
The newly discovered brain signal may be useful in determining whether a listener has truly understood spoken instructions. Credit: Ben White on Unsplash.
To test if human brains actually compute the similarity between words as we listen to speech, the researchers recorded electrical brainwave signals recorded from the human scalp - a technique known as electroencephalography or EEG - as participants listened to a number of audiobooks. Then, by analysing their brain activity, they identified a specific brain response that reflected how similar or different a given word was from the words that preceded it in the story.

Crucially, this signal disappeared completely when the subjects either could not understand the speech (because it was too noisy), or when they were just not paying attention to it. Thus, this signal represents an extremely sensitive measure of whether or not a person is truly understanding the speech they are hearing, and, as such, it has a number of potential important applications.
Ussher Assistant Professor in Trinity College Dublin's School of Engineering, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, and Trinity Centre for Bioengineering, Ed Lalor, led the research.
Professor Lalor said: "Potential applications include testing language development in infants, or determining the level of brain function in patients in a reduced state of consciousness. The presence or absence of the signal may also confirm if a person in a job that demands precision and speedy reactions - such as an air traffic controller, or soldier—has understood the instructions they have received, and it may perhaps even be useful for testing for the onset of dementia in older people based on their ability to follow a conversation."
"There is more work to be done before we fully understand the full range of computations that our brains perform when we understand speech. However, we have already begun searching for other ways that our brains might compute meaning, and how those computations differ from those performed by computers. We hope the new approach will make a real difference when applied in some of the ways we envision."
[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Researchers pinpoint when our brains convert speech sounds into meaning
More information: Current Biology (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.080 , http://www.cell.com/current-biology/full...18)30146-5



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Neanderthals were artistic like modern humans, study indicates
February 22, 2018 by Andrew White, [url=http://www.soton.ac.uk/]University of Southampton


[Image: neanderthals.jpg]
Panel 78 in La Pasiega. The scalariform (ladder shape) composed of red horizontal and vertical lines dates to older than 64,000 years and was made by Neanderthals. Credit: C.D Standish, A.W.G. Pike and D.L. Hoffmann
Scientists have found the first major evidence that Neanderthals, rather than modern humans, created the world's oldest known cave paintings - suggesting they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own.

A new study led by the University of Southampton and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology shows that paintings in three caves in Spain were created more than 64,000 years ago - 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe.

This means that the Palaeolithic (Ice Age) cave art - including pictures of animals, dots and geometric signs - must have been made by Neanderthals, a 'sister' species to Homo sapiens, and Europe's sole human inhabitants at the time.

It also indicates that they thought symbolically, like modern humans.

Published today in the journal Science, the study reveals how an international team of scientists used a state-of-the-art technique called uranium-thorium dating to fix the age of the paintings as more than 64,000 years.

Until now, cave art has been attributed entirely to modern humans, as claims to a possible Neanderthal origin have been hampered by imprecise dating techniques. However, uranium-thorium dating provides much more reliable results than methods such as radiocarbon dating, which can give false age estimates.

[Image: 2-neanderthals.jpg]
The ladder shape composed of red horizontal and vertical lines (centre left) dates to older than 64,000 years and was made by Neanderthals. Credit: © P. Saura
The uranium-thorium method involves dating tiny carbonate deposits that have built up on top of the cave paintings. These contain traces of the radioactive elements uranium and thorium, which indicate when the deposits formed - and therefore give a minimum age for whatever lies beneath.

Joint lead author Dr Chris Standish, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, said: "This is an incredibly exciting discovery which suggests Neanderthals were much more sophisticated than is popularly believed.

"Our results show that the paintings we dated are, by far, the oldest known cave art in the world, and were created at least 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe from Africa - therefore they must have been painted by Neanderthals."

A team of researchers from the UK, Germany, Spain and France analysed more than 60 carbonate samples from three cave sites in Spain - La Pasiega (north-eastern Spain), Maltravieso (western Spain) and Ardales (south-western Spain).

 

All three caves contain red (ochre) or black paintings of groups of animals, dots and geometric signs, as well as hand stencils, hand prints and engravings.

According to the researchers, creating the art must have involved such sophisticated behaviour as the choosing of a location, planning of light source and mixing of pigments.

[Image: 1-neanderthals.jpg]
Drawing of Panel 78 in La Pasiega by Breuil et al (1913). The red scalariform (ladder) symbol has a minimum age of 64,000 years but it is unclear if the animals and other symbols were painted later. Credit: Breuil et al
Alistair Pike, Professor of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Southampton and co-director of the study, said: "Soon after the discovery of the first of their fossils in the 19th century, Neanderthals were portrayed as brutish and uncultured, incapable of art and symbolic behaviour, and some of these views persist today.

"The issue of just how human-like Neanderthals behaved is a hotly debated issue. Our findings will make a significant contribution to that debate."

Joint lead author Dirk Hoffmann, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, added that symbolic material culture - a collection of cultural and intellectual achievements handed down from generation to generation - has, until now, only been attributed to our species.

"The emergence of symbolic material culture represents a fundamental threshold in the evolution of humankind. It is one of the main pillars of what makes us human," he said.

"Artefacts whose functional value lies not so much in their practical but rather in their symbolic use are proxies for fundamental aspects of human cognition as we know it."

Early symbolic artefacts, dating back 70,000 years, have been found in Africa but are associated with modern humans.

[Image: 5a8eae97580fd.jpg]
Panel 3 in Maltravieso Cave showing 3 hand stencils (centre right, centre top and top left). One has been dated to at least 66,000 years ago and must have been made by a Neanderthal (colour enhanced). Credit: H. Collado
Other artefacts including cave art, sculpted figures, decorated bone tools and jewellery have been found in Europe, dating back 40,000 years. But researchers have concluded that these artefacts must have been created by modern humans who were spreading across Europe after their arrival from Africa.

There is evidence that Neanderthals in Europe used body ornamentation around 40,000 to 45,000 years ago, but many researchers have suggested this was inspired by modern humans who at the time had just arrived in Europe.

Study co-author Paul Pettitt, of Durham University, commented: "Neanderthals created meaningful symbols in meaningful places. The art is not a one-off accident.

"We have examples in three caves 700km apart, and evidence that it was a long-lived tradition. It is quite possible that similar cave art in other caves in Western Europe is of Neanderthal origin as well."

[Image: 1x1.gif] Explore further: Iberian paintings are Europe's oldest cave art, uranium-series dating study confirms

More information: D.L. Hoffmann at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany el al., "U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art," Science (2018). science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi … 1126/science.aap7778





Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-02-neandertha...s.html#jCp
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With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
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...
absolutely great information in a number of posts.
Thanks for the efforts in posting the material.

from a couple of posts back
Quote:... the Big Picture message,
is that our prehistoric ancestors ---> were not nearly as homebound ... as once thought. 



The scientists were never too convincing with any of their theories.
Trans Pacific and trans Atlantic migrations were quite common,
especially to the west coast of South America from the Pacific Islands and Asia,
and Central America from both oceanic routes.

Quote:"There was a view that migration is a very rare process in human evolution," 
Reich explains. 
Not so, says the ancient DNA. 
Actually, Reich says, "the orthodoxy—the assumption that present-day people, 
are directly descended Whip
from the people who always lived in that same area Nonono 
is wrong almost everywhere."  Applause


and,
how unique ... science improves dramatically from the dark ages of the 20th century:

Quote:His group showed that the petrous bone, 
containing the tiny inner ear, 
harbors 100 times more DNA 
than other ancient human remains, 
offering a huge increase in the amount of genetic material available for analysis. 


If they ever dig up the oldest locations of ancient Olmec civilization,
a lot of history will change as well.
Only 5% has been unearthed is the estimate,
and you can bet that is really llike 1%.

...
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