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Back to the garden(S)... origin(S) of mankind(S).
AUGUST 6, 2020
DNA from an ancient, unidentified ancestor was passed down to humans living today
[Image: dna.png]From left to right, the structures of A-, B- and Z-DNA. Credit: Wikipedia
A new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor. Melissa Hubisz and Amy Williams of Cornell University and Adam Siepel of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory report these findings in a study published 6th August in PLOS Genetics.

Roughly 50,000 years ago, a group of humans migrated out of Africa and interbred with Neanderthals in Eurasia. But that's not the only time that our ancient human ancestors and their relatives swapped DNA. The sequencing of genomes from Neanderthals and a less well-known ancient group, the Denisovans, has yielded many new insights into these interbreeding events and into the movement of ancient human populations. In the new paper, the researchers developed an doink-headfor analyzing genomes that can identify segments of DNA that came from other species, even if that gene flow occurred thousands of years ago and came from an unknown source. They used the doink-headto look at genomes from two Neanderthals, a Denisovan and two African humans. The researchers found evidence that 3 percent of the Neanderthal genome came from ancient humans, and estimate that the interbreeding occurred between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. Furthermore, 1 percent of the Denisovan genome likely came from an unknown and more distant relative, possibly Homo erectus, and about 15% of these "super-archaic" regions may have been passed down to modern humans who are alive today.
The new findings confirm previously reported cases of gene flow between ancient humans and their relatives, and also point to new instances of interbreeding. Given the number of these events, the researchers say that genetic exchange was likely whenever two groups overlapped in time and space. Their new algorithm solves the challenging problem of identifying tiny remnants of gene flow that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago, when only a handful of ancient genomes are available. This doink-headmay also be useful for studying gene flow in other species where interbreeding occurred, such as in wolves and dogs.
"What I think is exciting about this work is that it demonstrates what you can learn about deep human history by jointly reconstructing the full evolutionary history of a collection of sequences from both modern humans and archaic hominins," said author Adam Siepel. "This new algorithm that Melissa has developed, ARGweaver-D, is able to reach back further in time than any other computational method I've seen. It seems to be especially powerful for detecting ancient introgression."

Explore further
Earliest interbreeding event between ancient human populations discovered

[b]More information:[/b] Hubisz MJ, Williams AL, Siepel A (2020) Mapping gene flow between ancient hominins through demography-aware inference of the ancestral recombination graph. PLoS Genet 16(8): e1008895.
[b]Journal information:[/b] PLoS Genetics
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
(01-22-2016, 01:30 AM)Kalter Rauch Wrote: EA......I didn't see it in your last article about the English genome
but weren't the blue painted Picts there before the Anglo-Saxons?
The team's analysis also found that genetically Pictish people 'became' Vikings without genetically mixing with Scandinavians. The Picts were Celtic-speaking people who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late British Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.

Two Orkney skeletons who were buried with Viking swords in Viking style graves are genetically similar to present-day Irish and Scottish people and could be the earliest Pictish genomes ever studied."

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
World's largest DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren't all Scandinavian
[Image: 2-worldslarges.jpg]An artistic reconstruction of 'Southern European' Vikings emphasising the foreign gene flow into Viking Age Scandinavia. Credit: Jim Lyngvild
Invaders, pirates, warriors—the history books taught us that Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond.

Now cutting-edge DNA sequencing of more than 400 Viking skeletons from archaeological sites scattered across Europe and Greenland will rewrite the history books as it has shown:
  • Skeletons from famous Viking burial sites in Scotland were actually local people who could have taken on Viking identities and were buried as Vikings.Many Vikings actually had brown hair not blonde hair.Viking identity was not limited to people with Scandinavian genetic ancestry. The study shows the genetic history of Scandinavia was influenced by foreign genes from Asia and Southern Europe before the Viking Age.Early Viking Age raiding parties were an activity for locals and included close family members.The genetic legacy in the UK has left the population with up to six percent Viking DNA.
The six-year research project, published in Nature today, debunks the modern image of Vikings and was led by Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge, and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen.
He said: "We have this image of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, trading and going on raiding parties to fight Kings across Europe because this is what we see on television and read in books—but genetically we have shown for the first time that it wasn't that kind of world. This study changes the perception of who a Viking actually was—no one could have predicted these significant gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia happened before and during the Viking Age."
The word Viking comes from the Scandinavian term 'vikingr' meaning 'pirate'. The Viking Age generally refers to the period from A.D. 800, a few years after the earliest recorded raid, until the 1050s, a few years before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The Vikings changed the political and genetic course of Europe and beyond: Cnut the Great became the King of England, Leif Eriksson is believed to have been the first European to reach North America—500 years before Christopher Columbus—and Olaf Tryggvason is credited with taking Christianity to Norway. Many expeditions involved raiding monasteries and cities along the coastal settlements of Europe but the goal of trading goods like fur, tusks and seal fat were often the more pragmatic aim.

Professor Willerslev added: "We didn't know genetically what they actually looked like until now. We found genetic differences between different Viking populations within Scandinavia which shows Viking groups in the region were far more isolated than previously believed. Our research even debunks the modern image of Vikings with blonde hair as many had brown hair and were influenced by genetic influx from the outside of Scandinavia."

[Image: 3-worldslarges.jpg]
DNA from a female skeleton named Kata found at a Viking burial site in Varnhem, Sweden, was sequenced as part of the study. Credit: Västergötlands Museum
The team of international academics sequenced the whole genomes of 442 mostly Viking Age men, women, children and babies from their teeth and petrous bones found in Viking cemeteries. They analysed the DNA from the remains from a boat burial in Estonia and discovered four Viking brothers died the same day. The scientists have also revealed male skeletons from a Viking burial site in Orkney, Scotland, were not actually genetically Vikings despite being buried with swords and other Viking memorabilia.
There wasn't a word for Scandinavia during the Viking Age—that came later. But the research study shows that the Vikings from what is now Norway travelled to Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Greenland. The Vikings from what is now Denmark travelled to England. And Vikings from what is now Sweden went to the Baltic countries on their all male 'raiding parties'.
Dr. Ashot Margaryan, Assistant Professor at the Section for Evolutionary Genomics, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen and first author of the paper, said: "We carried out the largest ever DNA analysis of Viking remains to explore how they fit into the genetic picture of Ancient Europeans before the Viking Age. The results were startling and some answer long-standing historical questions and confirm previous assumptions that lacked evidence.
"We discovered that a Viking raiding party expedition included close family members as we discovered four brothers in one boat burial in Estonia who died the same day. The rest of the occupants of the boat were genetically similar suggesting that they all likely came from a small town or village somewhere in Sweden."
DNA from the Viking remains were shotgun sequenced from sites in Greenland, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Poland and Russia.
Professor Martin Sikora, a lead author of the paper and an Associate Professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, said: "We found that Vikings weren't just Scandinavians in their genetic ancestry, as we analysed genetic influences in their DNA from Southern Europe and Asia which has never been contemplated before. Many Vikings have high levels of non-Scandinavian ancestry, both within and outside Scandinavia, which suggest ongoing gene flow across Europe."
The team's analysis also found that genetically Pictish people 'became' Vikings without genetically mixing with Scandinavians. The Picts were Celtic-speaking people who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late British Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.

[Image: 4-worldslarges.jpg]
A mass grave of around 50 headless Vikings from a site in Dorset, UK. Some of these remains were used for DNA analysis. Credit: Dorset County Council/Oxford Archaeology
Dr. Daniel Lawson, lead author from The University of Bristol, explained: "Individuals with two genetically British parents who had Viking burials were found in Orkney and Norway. This is a different side of the cultural relationship from Viking raiding and pillaging."
The Viking Age altered the political, cultural and demographic map of Europe in ways that are still evident today in place names, surnames and modern genetics.
Professor Søren Sindbæk, an archaeologist from Moesgaard Museum in Denmark who collaborated on the ground-breaking paper, explained: "Scandinavian diasporas established trade and settlement stretching from the American continent to the Asian steppe. They exported ideas, technologies, language, beliefs and practices and developed new socio-political structures. Importantly our results show that 'Viking' identity was not limited to people with Scandinavian genetic ancestry. Two Orkney skeletons who were buried with Viking swords in Viking style graves are genetically similar to present-day Irish and Scottish people and could be the earliest Pictish genomes ever studied."
Assistant Professor Fernando Racimo, also a lead author based at the GeoGenetics Centre in the University of Copenhagen, stressed how valuable the dataset is for the study of the complex traits and natural selection in the past. He explained: This is the first time we can take a detailed look at the evolution of variants under natural selection in the last 2,000 years of European history. The Viking genomes allow us to disentangle how selection unfolded before, during and after the Viking movements across Europe, affecting genes associated with important traits like immunity, pigmentation and metabolism. We can also begin to infer the physical appearance of ancient Vikings and compare them to Scandinavians today."
The genetic legacy of the Viking Age lives on today with six percent of people of the UK population predicted to have Viking DNA in their genes compared to 10 percent in Sweden.
Professor Willeslev concluded: "The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was. The history books will need to be updated."

Explore further
Viking families traveled together, research shows

[b]More information:[/b] Population genomics of the Viking world, Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2688-8 ,
[b]Journal information:[/b] Nature [/url]

Provided by [url=]University of Cambridge

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020
Ancient footprints in Saudi Arabia show how humans left Africa
by Issam Ahmed
[Image: 5-thishandoutp.jpg]This handout photo shows a view of the edge of the Alathar ancient lake deposit and surrounding landscape
Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo and elephants bigger than any species seen today.

The humans may have hunted the big mammals but they did not stay long, using the watering hole as a waypoint on a longer journey.
This detailed scene was reconstructed by researchers in a new study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, following the discovery of ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert that shed new light on the routes our ancient ancestors took as they spread out of Africa.
Today, the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by vast, arid deserts that would have been inhospitable to early people and the animals they hunted down.
But research over the last decade has shown this wasn't always the case—due to natural climate variation it experienced much greener and more humid conditions in a period known as the last interglacial.
Arabia at the time was more akin to the semi-arid grasslands of the modern African savanna.
The paper's first author Mathew Stewart of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, told AFP the footprints were discovered during his PhD field work in 2017 following the erosion of overlying sediments at an ancient lake dubbed 'Alathar' (meaning "the trace" in Arabic).
  • [Image: 5f62579c001a1.jpg]

  • Elephant (left) and camel (right) trackways. Credit: Stewart et al., 2020

  • [Image: 5f6257809f9cf.jpg]

  • The first human footprint discovered at Alathar and its corresponding digital elevation model (DEM). Credit: Stewart et al., 2020

  • [Image: 5f62579c001a1.jpg]

  • Elephant (left) and camel (right) trackways. Credit: Stewart et al., 2020

  • [Image: 5f6257809f9cf.jpg]

    The first human footprint discovered at Alathar and its corresponding digital elevation model (DEM). Credit: Stewart et al., 2020

"Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not to get from other records," he said.

The prints were dated using a technique called optical stimulated luminescence—blasting light at quartz grains and measuring the amount of energy emitted from them.
[b]A Green Arabia[/b]
In total, seven out of the hundreds of prints discovered were confidently identified as hominin, including four that, given their similar orientation, distances from one another and differences in size, were interpreted as two or three individuals traveling together.
The researchers argue these belonged to anatomically modern humans, as opposed to Neanderthals, on the basis that our extinct cousins aren't known to have been present in the wider Middle East region at the time, and based on stature and mass estimates inferred from the prints.

[*]"We know that humans were visiting this lake at the same time these animals were, and, unusually for the area, there's no stone tools," said Stewart, which would indicate the humans made a longer term settlement there.

"It appears that these people were visiting the lake for water resources and just to forage at the same time as the animals," and probably to also hunt them.
The elephants, which had gone extinct in the nearby Levant region some 400,000 years ago, would have been particularly attractive prey, and their presence also suggests other plentiful freshwater resources and greenery.
In addition to the footprints, some 233 fossils were recovered, and it's likely that carnivores were attracted to the herbivores at Alathar, similar to what is seen in African savannas today.
It was previously known that early humans spread to Eurasia via southern Greece and the Levant, exploiting coastal resources along the way, but the new research shows that "inland routes, following lakes and rivers, may have been particularly important" too, said Stewart.
"The presence of large animals such as elephants and hippos, together with open grasslands and large water resources, may have made northern Arabia a particularly attractive place to humans moving between Africa and Eurasia," added the study's senior author Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
. Stewart el al., "Human footprints provide snapshot of last interglacial ecology in the Arabian interior," Science Advances (2020). … .1126/sciadv.aba8940
[*][b]Journal information:[/b] Science Advances
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
Neandertals have adopted male sex chromosome from modern humans
[Image: ychromosomes.jpg]Matthias Meyer at work in the clean laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Credit: MPI f. Evolutionary Anthropology
In 1997, the very first Neandertal DNA sequence—just a small part of the mitochondrial genome—was determined from an individual discovered in the Neander Valley, Germany, in 1856. Since then, improvements in molecular techniques have enabled scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology to determine high quality sequences of the autosomal genomes of several Neandertals, and led to the discovery of an entirely new group of extinct humans, the Denisovans, who were relatives of the Neandertals in Asia.

However, because all specimens well-preserved enough to yield sufficient amounts of DNA have been from female individuals, comprehensive studies of the Y chromosomes of Neandertals and Denisovans have not yet been possible. Unlike the rest of the autosomal genome, which represents a rich tapestry of thousands of genealogies of any individual's ancestors, Y chromosomes have a peculiar mode of inheritance—they are passed exclusively from father to son. Y chromosomes, and also the maternally-inherited mitochondrial DNA, have been extremely valuable for studying human history.
[b]New method to identify Y chromosome molecules[/b]
In this study, the researchers identified three male Neandertals and two Denisovans that were potentially suitable for DNA analysis, and developed an approach to fish out human Y chromosome molecules from the large amounts of microbial DNA that typically contaminate ancient bones and teeth. This allowed them to reconstruct the Y chromosome sequences of these individuals, which would not have been possible using conventional approaches.
By comparing the archaic human Y chromosomes to each other and to the Y chromosomes of people living today, the team found that Neandertal and modern human Y chromosomes are more similar to one another than they are to Denisovan Y chromosomes. "This was quite a surprise to us. We know from studying their autosomal DNA that Neandertals and Denisovans were closely related and that humans living today are their more distant evolutionary cousins. Before we first looked at the data, we expected that their Y chromosomes would show a similar picture," says Martin Petr, the lead author of the study. The researchers also calculated that the most recent common ancestor of Neandertal and modern human Y chromosomes lived around 370,000 years ago, much more recently than previously thought.

[Image: neandertalsh.jpg]
Upper molar of a male Neandertal (Spy 94a) from Spy, Belgium. Credit: I. Crevecoeur
It is by now well established that all people with non-African ancestry carry a small amount of Neandertal DNA as a result of interbreeding between Neandertals and modern humans approximately 50,000-70,000 years ago, quite shortly after modern humans migrated out of Africa and started spreading around the world. However, whether Neandertals might also carry some modern human DNA has been a matter of some debate.

These Y chromosome sequences now provide new evidence that Neandertals and early modern humans met and exchanged genes before the major out of Africa migration—potentially as early as 370,000 years ago and certainly more than 100,000 years ago. This implies that some population closely related to early modern humans must already have been in Eurasia at that time. Surprisingly, this interbreeding resulted in the replacement of the original Neandertal Y chromosomes with those of early modern humans, a pattern similar to what has been seen for Neandertal mitochondrial DNA in an earlier study.
[b]Selection for Y chromosomes from early modern humans[/b]
At first, the complete replacement of both Y chromosomes and mtDNA of early Neandertals was puzzling, as such replacement events are quite unlikely to occur by chance alone. However, the researchers used computer simulations to show that the known small size of Neandertal populations may have led to an accumulation of deleterious mutations in their Y chromosomes which would reduce their evolutionary fitness. This is quite similar to situations where extremely small population sizes and inbreeding can sometimes increase the incidence of some diseases. "We speculate that given the important role of the Y chromosome in reproduction and fertility, the lower evolutionary fitness of Neandertal Y chromosomes might have caused natural selection to favor the Y chromosomes from early modern humans, eventually leading to their replacement," says Martin Petr.
Janet Kelso, the senior author of the study, is optimistic that this replacement hypothesis could be tested in the near future: "If we can retrieve Y chromosome sequences from Neandertals that lived prior to this hypothesized early introgression event, such as the 430,000 year old Neandertals from Sima de los Huesos in Spain, we predict that they would still have the original Neandertal Y chromosome and will therefore be more similar to Denisovans than to modern humans."

Explore further
Neandertals had older mothers and younger fathers

[b]More information:[/b] Martin Petr et al, The evolutionary history of Neanderthal and Denisovan Y chromosomes", Science; September 25th, 2020, … 1126/science.abb6460
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Clovis First Naughty

OCTOBER 23, 2020
Tools made by some of North America's earliest inhabitants were made only during a 300-year period Holycowsmile
by Keith Randall, Texas A&M University
[Image: texasaampmex.jpg]Clovis spear points from the Gault site in Texas. Credit: Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University
There is much debate surrounding the age of the Clovis—a prehistoric culture named for stone tools found near Clovis, New Mexico in the early 1930s—who once occupied North America during the end of the last Ice Age. New testing of bones and artifacts show that Clovis tools were made only during a brief, 300-year period from 13,050 to 12,750 years ago.

Michael Waters, distinguished professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, along with Texas A&M anthropologist David Carlson and Thomas Stafford of Stafford Research in Colorado, have had their new work published in the current issue of Science Advances.
The team used the radiocarbon method to date bone, charcoal and carbonized plant remains from 10 known Clovis sites in South Dakota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Montana and two sites in Oklahoma and Wyoming. An analysis of the dates showed that people made and used the iconic Clovis spear-point and other distinctive tools for only 300 years.
"We still do not know how or why Clovis technology emerged and why it disappeared so quickly," Waters said.
"It is intriguing to note that Clovis people first appears 300 years before the demise of the last of the megafauna that once roamed North America during a time of great climatic and environmental change," he said. "The disappearance of Clovis from the archaeological record at 12,750 years ago is coincident with the extinction of mammoth and mastodon, the last of the megafauna. Perhaps Clovis weaponry was developed to hunt the last of these large beasts."
Waters said that until recently, Clovis was thought to represent the initial group of indigenous people to enter the Americas and that people carrying Clovis weapons and tools spread quickly across the continent and then moved swiftly all the way to the southern tip of South America. However, a short age range for Clovis does not provide sufficient time for people to colonize both North and South America. Furthermore, strong archaeological evidence "amassed over the last few decades shows that people were in the Americas thousands of years before Clovis, but Clovis still remains important because it is so distinctive and widespread across North America," he said.
Waters said the revised age for Clovis tools reveals that, "Clovis with its distinctive fluted lanceolate spear point, typically found in the Plains and eastern United States, is contemporaneous with stemmed point-making people in the Western United States and the earliest spear points, called Fishtail points, in South America.
"Having an accurate age for Clovis shows that people using different toolkits were well settled into multiple areas of North and South America by 13,000 years ago and had developed their own adaptation to these various environments."
Waters noted that a new accurate and precise age for Clovis and their tools provides a baseline to try to understand the mystery surrounding the origin and demise of these people.

Explore further
Team finds oldest weapons ever discovered in North America

[b]More information:[/b] Michael R. Waters et al, The age of Clovis—13,050 to 12,750 cal yr B.P., Science Advances (2020). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0455

OCTOBER 29, 2020
Denisovan DNA in the genome of early East Asians
[Image: denisovandna.jpg]The skullcap found in the Salkhit Valley in eastern Mongolia belonged to a woman who lived 34,000 years ago. Analyses showed: She had inherited about 25 percent of her DNA from Western Eurasian. Credit: Institute of Archaeology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences
Researchers have analyzed the genome of the oldest human fossil found in Mongolia to date and show that the 34,000-year-old woman inherited around 25 percent of her DNA from western Eurasians, demonstrating that people moved across the Eurasian continent shortly after it had first been settled by the ancestors of present-day populations. This individual and a 40,000-year-old individual from China also carried DNA from Denisovans, an extinct form of hominins that inhabited Asia before modern humans arrived.

In 2006, miners discovered a hominin skullcap with peculiar morphological features in the Salkhit Valley of the Norovlin county in eastern Mongolia. It was initially referred to as Mongolanthropus and thought to be a Neandertal or even a Homo erectus. The remains of the "Salkhit" individual represent the only Pleistocene hominin fossil found in the country.
Ancient DNA extracted from the skullcap shows that it belonged to a female modern human who lived 34,000 ago and was more related to Asians than to Europeans. Comparisons to the only other early East Asian individual genetically studied to date, a 40,000-year-old male from Tianyuan Cave outside Beijing (China), show that the two individuals are related to each other. However, they differ insofar that a quarter of the ancestry of the Salkhit individual derived from western Eurasians, probably via admixture with ancient Siberians.
[b]Migration and interaction[/b]
"This is direct evidence that modern human communities in East Asia were already quite cosmopolitan earlier than 34,000 years ago," says Diyendo Massilani, lead author of the study and researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "This rare specimen shows that migration and interactions among populations across Eurasia happened frequently already some 35,000 years ago."
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Speeded video recording of excavation in Baishiya Karst Cave. Credit: Yuanyuan Han, Dongju Zhang, Lanzhou University
The researchers used a new method developed at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology to find segments of DNA from extinct hominins in the Salkhit and Tianyuan genomes. They found that the two genomes contain not only Neandertal DNA but also DNA from Denisovans, an elusive Asian relative of Neandertals. "It is fascinating to see that the ancestors of the oldest humans in East Asia from whom we have been able to obtain genetic data had already mixed with Denisovans, an extinct form of hominins that has contributed ancestry to present-day populations in Asia and Oceania," says Byambaa Gunchinsuren, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. "This is direct evidence that Denisovans and modern humans had met and mixed more than 40,000 years ago."

[Image: 5f9aac5c58769.jpg]
Xiahe Mandible. Credit: Menghan Qiu, Dongju Zhang, Lanzhou University
"Interestingly, the Denisovan DNA fragments in these very old East Asians overlap with Denisovan DNA fragments in the genomes of present-day populations in East Asia but not with Denisovan DNA fragments in Oceanians. This supports a model of multiple independent mixture events between Denisovans and modern humans," says Massilani.
The research is reported in the journal Science.

Explore further
Neandertals had older mothers and younger fathers

[b]More information:[/b] D. Massilani el al., "Denisovan ancestry and population history of early East Asians," Science (2020). … 1126/science.abc1166

D. Zhang el al., "Denisovan DNA in Late Pleistocene sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave on the Tibetan Plateau," Science (2020). … 1126/science.abb6320

OCTOBER 28, 2020
New genome sequencing sheds light on diversity in Africa
by Sara Hussein
[Image: 3-newresearcho.jpg]New research on whole-genome sequences of hundreds of people across Africa tries to address an imbalance in the genetic data available worldwide
Analysis of the genomes of hundreds of people from across Africa has shed light on ancient migrations and modern susceptibility and resistance to disease, revealing unexpected genetic diversity.

The genome is often described as the body's instruction manual, and whole-genome sequencing involves effectively reading the billions of DNA bases in an individual.
New research on sequences from more than 400 people from the African continent is part of an attempt to address an imbalance in the genetic data available worldwide, most of which comes from people of European ancestry.
The work, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, reveals Zambia may have been a key stopover point in the expansion of Bantu-speaking groups.
And it finds that populations living in one area may have significantly different genetic vulnerabilities to disease.
"These are population groups that for the most part have not had their genomes sequenced before," said Zane Lombard, an associate professor of human genetics at Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, who helped lead the study.
"So the addition to our knowledge base is unique, significant, and more than would be expected from a similar sample size in other populations," she told AFP.
In many ways, we live in the age of the gene, with better understanding of our body's basic building blocks helping advance medical research and treatment, and better explain how humans evolved and migrated around the world.

[Image: 1-wholegenomes.jpg]
Whole genome sequencing effectively allows researchers to read the instruction manual of an individual
But the picture of human genetic variation remains frustratingly incomplete, with the world's diversity far from represented.
As little as 22 percent of participants in genomics research are of non-European heritage, with the majority of available genetic data coming from just three countries—Britain, the United States and Iceland.
Efforts to correct that have been under way for years in Africa, and Lombard's team worked with a consortium established to improve genetic research on the continent to access whole-genome sequences from 426 people enrolled in ongoing studies.
The sample might seem comparatively small, but it represents 50 ethnolinguistic groups from 13 countries, including some being studied for the first time.
[b]'Scratching the surface'[/b]
Among the discoveries revealed by the sequencing was an unexpectedly large number of new so-called single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), areas that differ from a reference genome and had not previously been identified in publicly available genome sequence data.
"This is significant because we are learning more about human genetic variation in general, discovering more differences that could be linked to disease or traits in the future, and that can inform what we know about genetic diversity across the globe," Lombard said.
Uncovering the variants is just a first step, but it will help identify which ones may be important in health outcomes, and provide key data on the different vulnerabilities of populations.

[Image: thegenomeseq.jpg]
The genome sequencing analysis sheds light on migration across Africa, and differing vulnerability to disease
"Africans are (often) presumed to have the same disease susceptibility or incidence where that may not be a useful framework for specific groups," Lombard said.
For example, the data showed members of one group in Uganda had variants that are protective against severe malaria, while other groups living in the same country lacked the variant.
This could be the result, the study says, of the relatively recent migration of members of the unprotected group into parts of Uganda where malaria is endemic.
The sequencing also offers insights into the Bantu expansions—key migrations of Bantu-speaking people that happened several times over thousands of years.
The sequencing showed Bantu groups in eastern and southern Africa had genetic similarities to Bantu speakers in Zambia.
So while recent work has theorised at least one Bantu migration originated in Angola, the genetic data suggests Zambia may have been a key stopover point.
For all the sequencing reveals, Lombard acknowledges the work "is really just scratching the surface of the more than 2,000 ethnolinguistic groups represented in Africa".
Going forward, the researchers hope to look at other types of variations in the sequences, and to add information from unstudied populations.

Explore further
Sequencing African genomes yields new data resource with broad applicability

[b]More information:[/b] High-depth African genomes inform human migration and health, Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2859-7 ,
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
[Image: 1-neanderthalc.jpg]
Neanderthal children grew and were weaned similarly to modern humans
Neanderthals behaved similarly to modern humans in raising their children, whose pace of growth was similar to Homo sapiens.



Clovis first. Naughty
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
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From having my toes turning black to NORMAL I am NOT dying and am using this oil VERY carefully and only a very small amount on a piece of cake ONCE a day and everything is going VERY WELL health wise.

Rick Simpson was booted out of Canada because it's "Supreme Court" would not even let him FILE the paperwork.

He is STILL  LilD alive as I just went and checked his site and he is living in CROATIA right now !!!

ALL BOW TO THE KING OF GOD PLANT !!!   Worship Worship Worship

Talk about a GARDEN ... If Henry Ford can make a CAR and Fuel out NOTHING BUT Cannabis and cure 12 different patients from 6 different Doctors and 6 different Hospitals and 12 patients with DIFFERENT types of being told "Go home and DIE" from 12 different human organs THAT is ONE FLAT FACT that MUST be SENT WORLD WIDE !!!

Keep Living Rick !!! Angel 

Bob... Ninja Assimilated
"The Morning Light, No sensation to compare to this, suspended animation, state of bliss, I keep my eyes on the circling sky, tongue tied and twisted just and Earth Bound Martian I" Learning to Fly Pink Floyd [Video:]
Rite where you left off 007...


Thursday, November 5th, 2020, 08:22 pm (This post was last modified: Thursday, November 5th, 2020, 08:24 pm by rhw007.)

eye believe.

NOVEMBER 6, 2020
Holycowsmile An Amazonian tea stimulates the formation of new neurons  LilD
by Universidad Complutense de Madrid
[Image: anamazoniant.jpg]Preparation of ayahuasca in Ecuador. Credit: Terpsichore.
One of the main natural components of ayahuasca tea is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which promotes neurogenesis —the formation of new neurons—according to research led by the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

In addition to neurons, the infusion used for shamanic purposes also induces the formation of other neural cells such as astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
"This capacity to modulate brain plasticity suggests that it has great therapeutic potential for a wide range of psychiatric and neurological disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases," explained José Ángel Morales, a researcher in the UCM and CIBERNED Department of Cellular Biology.
The study, published in Translational Psychiatry, a Nature Research journal, reports the results of four years of in vitro and in vivo experimentation on mice, demonstrating that these exhibit "a greater cognitive capacity when treated with this substance," according to José Antonio López, a researcher in the Faculty of Psychology at the UCM and co-author of the study.
[b]Changing the receptor eliminates the hallucinogenic effect[/b]
Ayahuasca is produced by mixing two plants from the Amazon: the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the chacruna shrub (Psychotria viridis).
The DMT in ayahuasca tea binds to a type-2A serotonergic brain receptor, which enhances its hallucinogenic effect. In this study, the receptor was changed to a sigma type receptor that does not have this effect, thus "greatly facilitating its future administration to patients."
In neurodegenerative diseases, it is the death of certain types of neurons that causes the symptoms of pathologies such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Although humans have the capacity to generate new neuronal cells, this depends on several factors and is not always possible.
"The challenge is to activate our dormant capacity to form neurons and thus replace the neurons that die as a result of the disease. This study shows that DMT is capable of activating neural stem cells and forming new neurons," concluded Morales.

Explore further
Researchers investigate the role of dopamine in neurons involved in several psychiatric disorders

[b]More information:[/b] Jose A. Morales-Garcia et al, N,N-dimethyltryptamine compound found in the hallucinogenic tea ayahuasca, regulates adult neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo, Translational Psychiatry (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-01011-0
[b]Journal information:[/b] Translational Psychiatry
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
DECEMBER 3, 2020
The impact of Neandertal DNA on human health
by Estonian Research Council
[Image: neanderthal.png]Comparison of Modern Human and Neanderthal skulls from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Credit: DrMikeBaxter/Wikipedia
A researcher at the University of Tartu described new associations between Neandertal DNA and autoimmune diseases, prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Modern humans migrated out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago and met and interbred with Neandertals and other archaic human groups. As a consequence, we can find that a few percent of the genomes of people outside of Africa contain traces of archaic ancestry. Large-scale resources with genetic and medical data are needed to find out how this archaic remains affect modern human health. Most previous studies have examined European population-specific cohorts. However, the Neandertal DNA content is quite different between Europeans and Asians and our knowledge limited about non-European Neandertal DNA. A new study by Senior Research Fellow of Evolutionary and Population Genomics Michael Dannemann analyzed Neandertal associated phenotypes in an Asian cohort and compared it to those discovered in a European cohort.
This study provides evidence that the impact of Neandertal DNA on the immune system has not been population-specific. "My findings show that while the Neandertal DNA in European and Asian populations differ they both contain variants that increase the risk of autoimmune diseases like dermatitis, Graves' disease and rheumatoid arthritis," said Dannemann.
Another disease for which associations were found in both populations was prostate cancer. Dannemann said that the difference is here that this gene variant had a protective effect which means it reduces the risk for prostate cancer.
Of particular interest were the Neandertal associations with type 2 diabetes, a disease influencing many people today. The result of this study showed that Neandertal-linked associations were only found in Asians and showed evidence for an over-proportional effect on this disease given the Neandertal DNA content in this population.
However, given the different associated archaic variants in both European and Asian cohorts, the results of this study also suggest that the effects of how Neandertal DNA influences immunity might be population-specific. "This is highlighting the importance of studying a wider range of ancestries to help us to ascertain how the phenotypic legacy of Neandertals influences modern humans today," added Dannemann.

Explore further
Neandertals had older mothers and younger fathers

[b]More information:[/b] Michael Dannemann et al, The population-specific impact of Neandertal introgression on human disease, Genome Biology and Evolution (2020). DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evaa250
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
Quote:Of particular interest were the Neandertal associations with type 2 diabetes, a disease influencing many people today. The result of this study showed that Neandertal-linked associations were only found in Asians and showed evidence for an over-proportional effect on this disease given the Neandertal DNA content in this population.
However, given the different

Yes this is true I DO have some Neandertal DNA but as stated before my type of OIL is more water and vegetable oil with some very tiny bits of the plant itself.

I now have another 'hole' in my right leg where I saw a 12-16 leg little critter come out after bursting bubble of DISEASED water squirting 3 feet sideways waking up it appeared overnight.  The critter came out after rubbing the hole with swabs like you clean for injections the hole had a hard covering that ripped off THEN the critter came out and I unfortunately killed it.

I am also using a PLASMA ball that injects electric waves into the holes.  My dark feet are also clearing and lumps in lower legs are getting smaller as I just got some Aloe & Cannabis skin oil I use every night.

I will try to get some of those new neuron starters, as PREVOGEN is likely has some of this in it.  Seems every time I get to pharmacy or shopping NONE are available at more than $1.25 per pill.

Thanx for information. Worship

Bob.. Ninja Assimilated
"The Morning Light, No sensation to compare to this, suspended animation, state of bliss, I keep my eyes on the circling sky, tongue tied and twisted just and Earth Bound Martian I" Learning to Fly Pink Floyd [Video:]
Re...Ayahuasca potion

From what I've read about DMT methods
seems to indicate possible significant differences between 
smoking and tea in terms of activating neurogenesis.
I've never tried it but it seems that 
since smoking it results in short-lived effects,
although quite intense Damned

the fact that tea is ingested through the guts,
all the way to the brain,
means that a stronger, whole-body activation
of the neurogenesis signal is far more likely to occur.

Of course, the MAOi component of the tea makes it possible.
That's why I do NOT smoke cannabis anymore,,,I soak the 'magic GOD medicine' and instead Rick Simpson toothpaste into a liquid made mostly of vegetable oil and same volume of water after boiling most of the deadly alcohol is gone, along with very tiny material that gets through coffee filters.

Since I still have the 5 gallon 'material' I may try another batch since I only have 2 ounces percolating slowly stirring the material 2-3 times a day for a full four weeks of soaking.

Boil off what I can then letting alcohol evaporate in fridge.

small amount on a slice of cake once per day.

Better than ANY Acid, cocaine, or wasted pot smoke high.

next weekend is boil-off

Bob... Ninja Assimilated
"The Morning Light, No sensation to compare to this, suspended animation, state of bliss, I keep my eyes on the circling sky, tongue tied and twisted just and Earth Bound Martian I" Learning to Fly Pink Floyd [Video:]
Two stones fuel debate over when America’s first settlers arrived
Microscopic bone residue on rocks possibly used to smash mastodon remains draws new scrutiny

[Image: 113020_bb_stones_feat-1030x580.jpg]

Microscopic bone residue found on this stone supports a disputed claim that the rock was used to break apart mastodon bones at a southern California site around 130,000 years ago, researchers say.

DECEMBER 4, 2020 AT 6:00 AM
Scientific debate about the most controversial archaeological site in the Americas has entered rocky new territory.
In 2017, scientists reported that around 130,000 years ago, an unidentified [i]Homo [/i]species used stone tools to break apart a mastodon’s bones near what is now San Diego. If true, that would mean that humans or one of our close evolutionary relatives reached the Americas at least 100,000 years earlier than previously thought, dramatically reshaping scientists’ understanding of when the region was settled ([i]SN: 4/26/17[/i]).
Critics have questioned whether the unearthed stones were actually used as tools. And other researchers suggested that supposed tool marks on the bones could have been created as the bones were carried by fast-moving streams or caused by construction activity that partially exposed the California site before its excavation in 1992 and 1993.
But new analyses bolster the controversial claim, says a team that includes some of the researchers involved in the initial finding. Chemical residue of bones appears on two stones previously found among mastodon remains at the Cerutti Mastodon site, the scientists report in the December[i] Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports[/i]. The two Cerutti rocks also show signs of having delivered or received hard blows where bone residue accumulated, the team says. The larger stone may have served as a platform on which the bones were smashed open with the smaller stone, possibly to remove marrow for eating or to obtain bone chunks suitable for shaping into tools.

“Many repeated blows are likely to have created the concentrations of broken [mastodon] bones” found at the site, says Richard Fullagar, a geoarcheaologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia who was also part of the original research. Hominids — perhaps Neandertals, Denisovans, [i]Homo erectus[/i] or [i]Homo sapiens[/i] — battered the large creature’s remains on one or possibly several visits to the site, Fullagar contends.
In the new study, Fullagar, Wollongong geoarchaeologist Luc Bordes and colleagues used microscopes to determine that the chemical and molecular structure of residue on the two stones matched that of bones in general. That residue must have been acquired by pounding apart mammoth bones that were found scattered around the stones, the team argues. Since microscopic remnants of bone appeared only where stones showed signs of wear and hard impacts, it’s unlikely that the stones accumulated the residue by accidentally coming in contact with mastodon bones after being covered by sediment, the scientists say.
Parts of broken Cerutti mammoth bones are also covered with hardened crusts that formed thousands of years ago or more. The survival of those crusts, the researchers contend, contradicts the argument that Cerutti stones and bones may have been damaged by construction activity.
[Image: 113020_bb_stones_inline_680.jpg]

A new study may add to evidence that the controversial proposal that stones and mastodon bones previously excavated in California, including those shown here, represent the earliest known evidence of human activity in the Americas.LARRY AGENBROAD

But the new findings haven’t settled the dispute. Repeated truck traffic over the area during construction could have jostled recently buried stones against older, fossilized mastodon bones, creating damage that has been confused for ancient, intentional tool use, says archaeologist Gary Haynes of the University of Nevada, Reno. For instance, one previously unearthed mastodon limb bone was shattered into several hundred pieces, consistent with the effects of heavy trucks frequently rumbling overhead, Haynes says.
The newly analyzed bone residue also does not include collagen. This component of bone typically degrades during fossilization, but traces from fresh bone can stick around. Stones presumably used a long time ago to break fresh mastodon bones should have picked up residue containing at least some collagen. So that lack raises the possibility that, rather than ancient stones being used to break fresh mastodon bones, truck traffic thrust buried stones against fossilized mastodon bones containing little or no surviving collagen, Haynes says.
An unpublished 2015 study, also coauthored by Fullagar, found collagen residues on three Cerutti stones, including the newly proposed hammering stone. That investigation used a special dye to identify collagen traces. Further research is needed to determine whether the techniques used in the new study can’t detect ancient collagen residues or if collagen-retaining areas of the two Cerutti stones just weren’t sampled.

Sprawling 8-mile-long 'canvas' of ice age beasts discovered hidden in Amazon rainforest
By Laura Geggel - Associate Editor 6 days ago
Ice age people painted these animals 12,600 years ago.

[Image: iprA9TEBazHZ6E6AF68wgU-1024-80.jpg.webp]
Thousands of images drawn during the last ice age were found in the Amazon Rainforest.
(Image: © Marie-Claire Thomas/Wild Blue Media)

An 8-mile-long "canvas" filled with ice age drawings of mastodons, giant sloths and other extinct beasts has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. 
The gorgeous art, drawn with ochre — a red pigment frequently used as paint in the ancient world — spans nearly 8 miles (13 kilometers) of rock on the hills above three rock shelters in the Colombian Amazon, a new study finds.
"These really are incredible images, produced by the earliest people to live in western Amazonia," study co-researcher Mark Robinson, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter, who analyzed the rock art alongside Colombian scientists, said in a statement

[Image: bcdrveQRAdNCVURtGYZu2U-970-80.jpg.webp]
[Image: snpgSTpHgM5W8dQQgwkpUT-970-80.jpg.webp]Some of the rock art has faded over the millennia. (Image credit: Ella Al-Shamahi)
Indigenous people likely started painting these images at the archaeological site of Serranía La Lindosa, on the northern edge of the Colombian Amazon, toward the end of the last ice age, about 12,600 to 11,800 years ago. During that time, "the Amazon was still transforming into the tropical forest we recognize today," Robinson said. Rising temperatures changed the Amazon from a patchwork landscape of savannas, thorny scrub and forest into today's leafy tropical rainforest.
The thousands of ice age paintings include both handprints, geometric designs and a wide array of animals, from the "small" — such as deertapirs, alligators, bats, monkeys, turtles, serpents and porcupines — to the "large," including camelids, horses and three-toed hoofed mammals with trunks. Other figures depict humans, hunting scenes and images of people interacting with plants, trees and savannah creatures. And, although there is also ice age animal rock art in Central Brazil, the new findings are more detailed and shed light on what these now-extinct species looked like, the researchers said.

"The paintings give a vivid and exciting glimpse into the lives of these communities," Robinson said. "It is unbelievable to us today to think they lived among, and hunted, giant herbivores, some which were the size of a small car."
Many of South America's large animals went extinct at the end of the last ice age, likely through a combination of human hunting and climate change, the researchers said. 
[Image: xTToPauBYgFTpAjaqNSA8U-970-80.jpg.webp]
Ice age people drew these figures, handprints and designs with red ochre. (Image credit: Marie-Claire Thomas/Wild Blue Media)
Excavations within the rock shelters revealed that these camps were some of the earliest human-occupied sites in the Amazon. The paintings and camps offer clues about these early hunter-gatherers' diets; for instance, bone and plant remains indicate that the menu included palm and tree fruits, piranhas, alligators, snakes, frogs, rodents such as paca and capybara, and armadillos, the researchers said.
Scientists excavated the rock shelters in 2017 and 2018, following the 2016 peace treaty between the Colombian government and FARC, a rebel guerrilla group. After the peace agreement, researchers spearheaded a project known as LastJourney, which aimed to find out when people first settled the Amazon, and what impact their farming and hunting had on the biodiversity of the region. 
"These rock paintings are spectacular evidence of how humans reconstructed the land, and how they hunted, farmed and fished," study co-researcher José Iriarte, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter, said in the statement. "It is likely art was a powerful part of culture and a way for people to connect socially."
The findings were published in April in the journal Quaternary International, and the University of Exeter released a statement today (Nov. 30) to coincide with a new TV documentary on the finding called "Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon," which will air in the U.K. in December.
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
That is fascinating about the stones used to break Mastadon bones.
The sequence of paragraphs is interesting:

Quote:In 2017, 
scientists reported that around 130,000 years ago, 
an unidentified Homo species used stone tools, 
to break apart a mastodon’s bones near what is now San Diego. 

If true, that would mean that humans or one of our close evolutionary relatives, 
reached the Americas at least 100,000 years earlier than previously thought, 
dramatically reshaping scientists’ understanding of when the region was settled.

The above statement makes much more sense than all the text book history we were taught.

this science research is always followed by the con-trary scientific opinion

The con-trary --- there is always another scientist with an opposing opinion,
which is why scholars are always in disagreement.
We know very little about real human history.
I find his argument weak:

Quote:But the new findings haven’t settled the dispute. 
Repeated truck traffic over the area during construction 
could have jostled recently buried stones against older, fossilized mastodon bones, 
creating damage that has been confused for ancient, 
intentional tool use,
says archaeologist Gary Haynes of the University of Nevada, Reno.

the original research has this answer

Quote:In the new study, Fullagar, 
Wollongong geoarchaeologist Luc Bordes and colleagues used microscopes,
to determine that the chemical and molecular structure of residue on the two stones,
matched that of bones in general. 

That residue must have been acquired by pounding apart mammoth bones, 
that were found scattered around the stones, the team argues. 

Parts of broken Cerutti mammoth bones 
are also covered with hardened crusts
that formed thousands of years ago or more. 
The survival of those crusts, the researchers contend, 
contradicts the argument 
that Cerutti stones and bones may have been damaged by construction activity.

But this is where the monkey wrench appears {below}.

an "unpublished 2015 study" --- "Further research is needed to determine"

blah blah blah --- They had plenty of time since 2015. Why not follow up on the colagen since then?

Quote:An unpublished 2015 study, also coauthored by Fullagar, 
found collagen residues on three Cerutti stones, 
including the newly proposed hammering stone. 
That investigation used a special dye to identify collagen traces. 
Further research is needed to determine whether the techniques used in the new study,
can’t detect ancient collagen residues, 
or if collagen-retaining areas of the two Cerutti stones just weren’t sampled.

Well ... I think the stones were used to bash bones, but they are too old,
crust or no crust,
to offer any collagen.
Rock mineralization in burial can leach material right from a crust and below that crust.
But they need to keep trying to find that collagen on another stone perhaps,
but it is also possible the site is no longer accessible.
Ten New Things We Learned About Human Origins in 2020

Visit Exhibitions New Research Artifacts Curators' Corner Ask Smithsonian Podcasts Newsletter Voices
Ten New Things We Learned About Human Origins in 2020
Smithsonian’s archaeologist Ella Beaudoin and paleoanthropologist Briana Pobiner reveal some of the year’s best findings in human origins studies
Ella Beaudoin, Briana Pobiner
While fieldwork was postponed, scientists made discoveries studying fossil footprints, ancient apes, monkeys and hominins. (Karen Carr/ National Park Service)

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Dec. 29, 2020, 11:43 a.m.
The pandemic this year changed a lot about the world and the way we lived, including the way that paleoanthropologists, archaeologists and other fieldwork-based researchers operate. This year, we want to highlight the different lines of evidence that are used in human origins research—so we’ve organized our ten highlighted discoveries into four broader “lines of evidence” categories. Since many scientific articles are years in the making, despite our inability to get out in the field, a lot of critical and exciting discoveries were still revealed in 2020.

Fossil Footprints Reveal Where and How Modern Humans Traveled
[Image: mrbennettfootprints.jpg] A section of the 11,500- to 13,000-year-old trackway depicts the outward and homeward journeys with the center image showing the tracks of a child. (Courtesy of M. Bennett, Bournemouth University)
While we may not be able to move around much this year, three studies on fossil human footprints published in 2020 revealed a lot more about where ancient humans traveled and how they moved together in groups. Unlike body fossils, footprints (and other “trace fossils”) offer us a snapshot of an exact moment in time, or at least a very short time interval.
In December, the longest trackway of fossil human footprints was announced by Matthew R. Bennett and colleagues. The 11,500- to 13,000-year-old, 0.8 mile-long (1.3 km) trackway, roughly the length of 14 football fields, was made by a woman or a juvenile male, holding a two- to three-year-old toddler while on their journey through a rough and dangerous landscape.
How do we know? Every so often the adult footprints pause and are joined by a child’s footprints. The footprints go in a straight and definite line, and pretty fast, indicating a deliberate end target; they then return in the opposite direction, this time without the child.
But did Pleistocene humans always travel solo? Heck no.
Another 2020 announcement, this one in May from Chatham University’s Kevin Hatala and colleagues (including Briana Pobiner), analyzed the largest fossil footprint assemblage in Africa. Sometime between about 6,000- and 19,000-years ago, a group of modern humans walked through a mudflow in the shadow of Tanzania’s Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano. The 408 footprints left behind by 17 individuals help us to understand not only the heights and weights of the footprint-makers, but using statistical analysis based on a large data set of modern human feet, the team determined that the walking group probably consisted of 14 female and 2 male individuals. Comparing this to ethnographic data from modern forager groups such as the Hadza in Tanzania, the team concluded that the footprints were probably made by adult females with occasional visits or accompaniment by a few adult males during a food gathering session.
Finally, footprints can simply reveal that humans were some place we didn’t know they were at that time, as Michael Petraglia and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History revealed when they took a look at 120,000-year-old human and animal footprints found on an ancient lake surface in a current Saudi Arabian desert. Before this discovery, the earliest evidence of humans moving into the heart of Arabia dated back to about 85,000 years ago.
Fossils Show Ancient Primates Also Undertook Major Journeys
[Image: shuitangba_mesopithecus_fig_12.jpg] Three newly found fossils from the ancient monkey Mesophithecus pentelicus (above in a reconstruction) show that the animal lived in Asia at the same time as apes. (Mauricio Antón, Penn State)
While discoveries directly related to humans’ evolutionary journey are important, understanding how now-extinct primates survived, thrived and traveled across the globe is just as exciting.
In October, a team led by Nina Jablonski and Xueping Ji from Penn State University and Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology respectively, found three new Mesopithecus pentelicus fossils, about 6.4 million years old, in Yunan Province, China. These late Miocene fossils indicate that this ecologically versatile and adaptable ancient monkey lived in Asia at the same time as apes. Modern colobines of Asia, the likely descendants of this species, have continued this trend by inhabiting some of the most highly seasonal and extreme habitats occupied by nonhuman primates.
Speaking of extreme, researchers now think monkeys rafted all the way across the Atlantic. In April, Erik Seiffert from University of Southern California and colleagues announced a new tiny soup-can-sized fossil monkey species, Ucayalipithecus perdita, based on four fossil monkey teeth that they found deep in the Peruvian Amazon. This newly discovered species belongs to an extinct family of African primates known as parapithecids, which are now the third lineage of mammals that made the more than 900-mile transatlantic journey from Africa to South America, most likely on floating rafts of vegetation that broke off from coastlines during a storm. Sounds improbable, but monkeys can survive without access to fresh water if they get enough food—like fruit that could have been growing on a tree and part of the vegetation raft.
Finally, in September, a team led by Hunter College’s Christopher C. Gilbert announced another new fossil primate: this time from a fossil molar of an ape, Kapi ramnagarensis, about 13-million-years old and found at Ramnagar in northern India. This new species pushes the fossil record of gibbons back by about five million years, and provides significant information about when the ancestors of today’s gibbons migrated to Asia from Africa—which was around the same time ancient great apes were undertaking the same migration.
New Hominin Fossils From Drimolen, South Africa
[Image: drimolen.jpg] South Africa's Drimolen fossil site seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. (Courtesy of Andy Herries)
No list of important finds in human evolution would be complete without fossil evidence of hominins themselves, and this year the site of Drimolen in South Africa was the big winner.
First, in April, a team led by Andy I. R. Herries from La Trobe University announced new fossils of both Paranthropus robustus (DNH 152) and Homo erectus (DNH 134) dating from between about 2.04 million and 1.95 million years ago, making these the oldest fossils of both of these hominin species. These finds demonstrate the contemporaneity of these two species at this site with Australopithecus africanus. DNH 134 pushes back the origin of Homo erectus by about 150,000 to 200,000 years.
And aspiring paleoanthropologists, check this out. Jesse Martin and Angeline Leece, who were both students attending a field school at Drimolen when DNH 143 was found in 2015, got to clean and reconstruct the skull. They had to hold the specimen, which consisted of more than 150 pieces of an approximately three-year-old child together, without coughing, sneezing, talking, and controlling their breathing—for up to 40 minutes at a time.
Drimolen seems to be the gift that keeps on giving us fossils, In 2018, the team found two more Paranthropus fossils, including the approximately 2-million-year-old DNH 155 adult male cranium (also found by a field school student Samantha Good). The analysis of this specimen led by Jesse M. Martin from La Trobe University was published this year in November, and especially against comparisons to other adult male Paranthropus robustus fossils from Drimolen and elsewhere in South Africa, suggests that differences previously ascribed to sexual dimorphism—differences between males and females—are actually examples of microevolution related to ecological change within this early hominin species.
Denisovan DNA Found in Cave Sediments and Modern Humans
[Image: womansskullcap.jpg] Analysis of a 34,000-year-old modern woman's skullcap revealed DNA from both Neanderthals and Denisovans. (Institute of Archaeology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences)
Back to our theme of migration. (Can you tell we miss being able to, you know, go places?)
One of this year’s big announcements, in October, was the first definitive evidence of Denisovans outside of Denisova Cave in Siberia, in a location about 1,740 miles away in Tibet. A team led by Dongju Zhang from Lanzhou University wanted to test the hypothesis that an approximately 160,000-year-old partial jawbone found by a Buddhist monk in Baishiya Karst Cave might be the remains of a Denisovan. First, in 2019, the researchers used a new method based on protein variations to identify the jaw as Denisovan; but the novel method and unknown exact location of where the jaw was found in the cave led to continued skepticism. Determined to find more evidence, Zhang and her team returned to the cave. They agreed to excavate only in winter in sub-zero temperatures and at night to avoid disturbing worshippers—and were rewarded by the finding of Denisovan mitochondrial DNA from the cave sediments that dated to between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago, and possibly as recently as 45,000 years ago. The research team also found charcoal from fires Denisovans built in the cave, as well as stone tools and fossil animal bones.
Also in October, a team led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology’s Svante Pääbo and Diyendo Massilani analyzed an approximately 34,000-year-old modern human woman’s skullcap found by miners in 2006—the only Pleistocene fossil currently known from Mongolia, as well as a modern human male skull from Tianyuan Cave in China that was about 40,000 year old. They found that both fossils contain DNA from both Neanderthals and Denisovans. What does this evidence mean for interactions and migrations among Eurasian Pleistocene populations? Well, it was… complicated. Because the Denisovan DNA sequences in these fossils are not found in present-day Oceanians (Australian Aboriginals and New Guineans), but they are found in present-day East Asians, modern humans must have met and exchanged genes with two different populations of Denisovans—one in Southeast Asia, and one in mainland Asia. This suggests that Denisovans once inhabited a pretty large area of Asia. Looks like it’s time to find more Denisovan fossils. Fingers crossed!
In the meantime, museums are continuing to work on digitization programs so that scientists can study and have access to collections regardless of pandemics or long distances. The National Museums of Kenya and the Smithsonian Institution have already been working to make 3D reconstructions of fossils available to researchers from around the world. If you’ve also been missing visiting museums, like us, the Smithsonian has created a way to view fossils from the safety of your own home. While we wait for more Denisovan fossils to be discovered, you can use this VR technology to see through a Neanderthal’s eyes and get up close and personal with some mammoths.

[Image: 11-630x421.jpg] About the Author: Briana Pobiner leads the National Museum of Natural History’s Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts and manages the Human Origins Program's public programs. Her research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as human cannibalism and chimpanzee carnivory. Her favorite field moments include falling asleep in a tent in the Serengeti in Tanzania while listening to the distant whoops of hyenas, watching a pride of lions eat a zebra carcass on the Kenyan equator, and discovering fossil bones that were last touched, butchered and eaten by one of her 1.5-million-year-old ancestors. Read more articles from Briana Pobiner [Image: Ella_Beaudoin_head_shot.jpg] About the Author: Ella Beaudoin is a Smithsonian paleolithic archaeologist whose research interests span from cultural adaption and resistance to colonialism, to early hominin cultural evolution and landscape use. She has conducted fieldwork in the U.S., Kenya and South Africa.
Read more articles from Ella Beaudoin


1 more year down the Bucket list Hi 

Bob... Ninja Assimilated
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Bob... Ninja Assimilated
"The Morning Light, No sensation to compare to this, suspended animation, state of bliss, I keep my eyes on the circling sky, tongue tied and twisted just and Earth Bound Martian I" Learning to Fly Pink Floyd [Video:]
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JANUARY 7, 2021
Sharing leftover meat may have contributed to early dog domestication
[Image: dogdomestica.jpg]Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain
Humans feeding leftover lean meat to wolves during harsh winters may have had a role in the early domestication of dogs, towards the end of the last ice age (14,000 to 29,000 years ago), according to a study published in Scientific Reports.
Maria Lahtinen and colleagues used simple energy content calculations to estimate how much energy would have been left over by humans from the meat of species they may have hunted 14,000 to 29,000 years that were also typical wolf prey species, such as horses, moose and deer.
The authors hypothesized that if wolves and humans had hunted the same animals during harsh winters, humans would have killed wolves to reduce competition rather than domesticate them. With the exception of Mustelids such as weasels, the authors found that all prey species would have supplied more protein than humans could consume, resulting in excess lean meat that could be fed to wolves, thus reducing the competition for prey.
Although humans may have relied on an animal-based diet during winters when plant-based foods were limited, they were probably not adapted to an entirely protein-based diet and may have favored meat rich in fat and grease over lean, protein-rich meat.
As wolves can survive on a solely protein-based diet for months, humans may have fed excess lean meat to pet wolves, which may have enabled companionship even during harsh winter months.
Feeding excess meat to wolves may have facilitated co-living with captured wolves and the use of pet wolves as hunting aids and guards may have further facilitated the domestication process, eventually to full dog domestication.

Explore further
Myth of tolerant dogs and aggressive wolves refuted

[b]More information:[/b] Excess protein enabled dog domestication during severe Ice Age winters, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-78214-4 ,
[b]Journal information:[/b] Scientific Reports 

Quote:RE: Back to the garden(S)... origin(S) of mankind(S).

Oldest Hominins of Olduvai Gorge Persisted Across Changing Environments
~2.0 to 1.8 million year-old archaeological site demonstrates that early humans had the skills and tools to cope with ecological change
[b]JANUARY 07, 2021[/b]
Olduvai (now Oldupai) Gorge, known as the Cradle of Humankind, is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Tanzania, made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey. New interdisciplinary field work has led to the discovery of the oldest archaeological site in Oldupai Gorge as reported in Nature Communications, which shows that early human used a wide diversity of habitats amidst environmental changes across a 200,000 year-long period.

Overview of Ewass Oldupa in Olduvai (Oldupai) Gorge, Tanzania

Michael Petraglia

Located in the heart of eastern Africa, the Rift System is a prime region for human origins research, boasting extraordinary records of extinct human species and environmental records spanning several million years. For more than a century, archaeologists and human palaeontologists have been exploring the East African Rift outcrops and unearthing hominin fossils in surveys and excavations. However, understanding of the environmental contexts in which these hominins lived has remained elusive due to a dearth of ecological studies in direct association with the cultural remains.
In the new study, published in Nature Communications, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for for the Science of Human History teamed up with lead partners from the University of Calgary, Canada, and the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to excavate the site of ‘Ewass Oldupa’ (meaning on ‘the way to the Gorge’ in the local Maa language, as the site straddles the path that links the canyon’s rim with its bottom). The excavations uncovered the oldest Oldowan stone tools ever found at Oldupai Gorge, dating to ~2 million years ago. Excavations in long sequences of stratified sediments and dated volcanic horizons indicated hominin presence at Ewass Oldupai from 2.0 to 1.8 million years ago.

Excavation in the upper deposits at Ewass Oldupa dating to ~1.8 million years ago

Michael Petraglia

Fossils of mammals (wild cattle and pigs, hippos, panthers, lions, hyena, primates), reptiles and birds, together with a range of multidisciplinary scientific studies, revealed habitat changes over 200,000 years in riverine and lake systems, including fern meadows, woodland mosaics, naturally burned landscapes, lakeside palm groves and dry steppe habitats. The uncovered evidence shows periodic but recurrent land use across a subset of environments, punctuated with times when there is an absence of hominin activity.
Dr. Pastory Bushozi of Dar es Salaam University, Tanzania, notes, “the occupation of varied and unstable environments, including after volcanic activity, is one of the earliest examples of adaptation to major ecological transformations.” 
Hominin occupation of fluctuating and disturbed environments is unique for this early time period and shows complex behavioural adaptations among early human groups. In the face of changing habitats, early humans did not substantially alter their toolkits, but instead their technology remained stable over time. Indicative of their versatility, typical Oldowan stone tools, consisting of pebble and cobble cores and sharp-edged flakes and polyhedral cobbles, continued to be used even as habitats changed. The implication is that by two million years ago, early humans had the behavioural capacity to continually and consistently exploit a multitude of habitats, using reliable stone toolkits, to likely process plants and butcher animals over the long term.

Excavation at Ewass Oldupa uncovering fossils and Oldowan stone tools

Michael Petraglia

Though no hominin fossils have yet been recovered from Ewass Oldupa, hominin fossils of Homo habilis were found just 350 metres away, in deposits dating to 1.82 million years ago. While it is difficult to know if Homo habilis was present at Ewass Oldupa, Professor Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary asserts that “these early humans were surely ranging widely over the landscape and along shores of the ancient lake.” Mercader further notes that this does not discount the possibility that other hominin species, such as the australopithecines, were also using and making stone tools at Ewass Oldupa, as we know that the genus Paranthropus was present in Oldupai Gorge at this time.
The findings uncovered at Oldupai Gorge and across eastern Africa indicate that early human movements across and out of Africa were possible by 2 million years ago, as hominins possessed the behavioural ability to expand into novel ecosystems. Professor Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute notes, “This behavioural flexibility arose in the context of the dawn of the evolution of our own genus, Homo, and it set the stage for the eventual global, invasive spread of Homo sapiens.
Researchers involved in this study include scholars from the Universities of Calgary, Manitoba, McMaster, and Toronto (Canada), the University of Dar es Salaam and Iringa as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (Tanzania), the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Germany), the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social, and the Madrid Institute for Advanced Study (Spain). All institutions work closely with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, the Division of Antiquities (MNRT), and under the sponsorship of the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Partnership program).
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...
[Image: gettyimages-487710542.jpg?offset-x=0]
Elizabeth Rayne@quothravenrayne
Jan 5, 2021, 8:45 PM EST (Updated)

Most of us know by now that if anyone ever thinks "Neanderthal" is an insult, it’s probably true on both ends, because Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals. But is another human species hiding somewhere in our past?
Deep in the caves of Johannesburg, South Africa, many ancient human remains have been found. Lee Berger and his research team from the University of the Witwatersrand have found human bones that have survived thousands and thousands of years. They previously unearthed two new hominid species, and might have just stumbled on another one. Some of the many bone fragments scattered in Cave UW 105 stood out. These remains are unlike any from known hominids or modern humans — possibly an altogether different species.

What began the quest to find out the identify of this mysterious human ancestor was a lower jaw fragment with just one tooth hanging on. Because it was initially piled up with bones and rubble from another excavation, it was set aside. Further investigation found between 100 and 150 pieces of ancient human bone. There were pieces of skulls, shoulder blades, teeth, and limb bones from at least four individuals, including an adult and two juveniles, that were out of place among known hominids.
Every time Berger and his team tried to make a connection between a known hominid species and the new bones they dug up, something didn’t fit. The closest they got was a molar found in Gondolin cave (shoutout to all you hardcore Tolkien fans out there who really know The Silmarillion). Even though the teeth looked similar to this molar, which belonged to Paranthropus Robusts, it was still not a match. P. Robustus appeared sometime between 1 and 2 million years ago. Its large, tough teeth had thick enamel and a strong jaw, thought to be ideal for tearing through plants that were otherwise difficult to chew.
What makes this even more complicated is that evolution can take unexpected turns. Ghosts of the past can return during different evolutionary phases. Powerful teeth and jaws as found in P. Robustus are often thought to be a primitive human trait, but define “primitive.” Homo Naledi, one of the two species discovered by Berger and his team, lived around 250,000 years ago, but its skull was not much larger than a chimpanzee’s and looks deceptively more primitive than its age suggests.
“[Homo Naledi’s] humanlike aspects are contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur,” Berger said in a study published in eLife after the discovery of this species.
The problem with the teeth of the unknown species goes further than archaeological stereotypes. Both its front and back teeth were large, compared to only the back teeth of P. Robustus, and the bones from the rest of its body were much slimmer. Most hominids with huge teeth also had robust bones to match. However, the other species discovered by Berger, Australopithicus sediba, also had a juxtaposition of features. Some of its teeth resembled those of more primitive species of Australopithicus while others were closer to Homo sapiens. The narrow upper chest of A. sediba also channeled its Australopithicus ancestors while its broader lower chest was a step forward towards becoming human.
The difference in so-called “primitive” and more evolved features could have something to do with how ancient hominids adapted to their environments. Though H. Naledi lived much later than other species with relatively small skulls, this part of its morphology may have given it an advantage where it lived. The same could be said of the teeth of the yet-unknown species that seem to be mismatched to its bones. While these hominids may have needed teeth that could withstand the wear and tear of tough plants and possibly meat, the rest of their environment might have not demanded a bulky body for survival.
Finding out the fossil’s age may reveal something more, so nobody evolve any more until those results are in.

[font="Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]NEWS RELEASE 7-JAN-2021[/font]
Ancient DNA analysis reveals Asian migration and plague

[font="Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY[/font]
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[font="Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Northeastern Asia has a complex history of migrations and plague outbursts. That is the essence of an international archaeogenetic study published in Science Advances and lead from the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University. Genomic data from archaeological remains from 40 individuals excavated in northeastern Asia were explored in the study.
"It is striking that we find everything here, continuity as well as recurrent migrations and also disease-related bacteria", says Anders Götherström, professor at the Center for Palaeogenetics at Stockholm University and one of the Principal investigators of the study.
The scientists discovered that there were demographic events in the past common for the whole Lake Baikal region. For example, around 8300 years ago there was a migratory event discernible both east and west of Lake Baikal. But there were also events specific for each of the two areas. While the areas west of Lake Baikal provides evidence for recurrent migrations and intense mobility, the areas east of Lake Baikal preserved a long-term continuity for thousands of years, apparently with limited mobility from other areas.
"It is intriguing that our data reveals complex and contrasting patterns of demographic change in one of the least populated regions on earth; including notable gene flow and at the same time a genetic continuity without major demographic changes in the two areas around Lake Baikal", says lead-author Gulsah Merve Kilinc, former postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University and currently Lecturer at Department of Bioinformatics at Hacettepe University in Ankara.
The study also provides some new clues to the history of the Paleo-Inuit groups, the people who inhabited northern Greenland and Canada. While it has been suspected that the so called Belkachi-complex, a cultural group in the Baikal area, played a part in the early history of Paleo-Inuits, it has not been possible to evaluate this in detail. The analyses of remains of an individual associated with the Belkachi cultural-complex, dated to more than 6000 years before present now show that there is an association to a previously published Paleo Inuit (Saqqaq) individual (dated c.4000 yrs BP) on Greenland.
"This is the first genetic evidence of a link between a Neolithic period human group in Yakutia and the later Palaeo-Inuit groups, and this will inspire to new of research on the demographic development", says Jan Storå, Professor at Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University.
Finally, the study provides new data on the most eastern occurrences of the bacteria Yersinia pestis, the plague. One individual from the Lena basin, dated to c. 3800 years ago, and buried with individuals that proved to be close kin genetically, carried DNA from Yersinia pestis. Also, an individual dated to c. 4400 years ago from the area west of Lake Baikal hosted Yersinia pestis. Interestingly, the population west of Lake Baikal seems to have decreased in size around 4400 years ago, judging from the genomic data.
"Despite a need for more data, our discovery of the decrease in effective population size that coincided with the appearance of Yersinia pestis points to a possible presence of a prehistoric plague - possibly a pandemic. However, this is just as an educated guess which needs to wait for confirmation", says Emrah K?rdök, former postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies at Stockholm University and currently Lecturer at Mersin University in Turkey.[/font]

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[font="Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The article "Human population dynamics and Yersinia pestis in ancient northeast Asia" is published in the scientific journal Science Advances.[/font]
Along the vines of the Vineyard.
With a forked tongue the snake singsss...

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