Southeast Asia is one of the most genetically diverse areas of the world and for more than 100 years researchers have been debating which theory of origins of the human population there is correct. One theory holds the view that indigenous Hoabinhain hunter-gatherers populated the area 44 kya and developed farming techniques on their own without input from early farmers from East Asia. The opposing theory holds the view that migrating rice farmers from China replaced the indigenous Hoabinhian people. However, new research and evidence now suggests that BOTH theories are WRONG!! At least neither is completely correct let me say more specifically.
The new study spearheaded by the University of Cambridge has found modern SE Asian people derive their ancestry from at least four ancient populations! Researchers used DNA from human skeletal remains found in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, and Japan dating back to 8 kya. DNA samples also included samples from the indigenous Hoabinhian people and from the Jomon people of Japan. This is all a scientific first, notably, as previously the oldest DNA collected only dated back to around 4 kya.
Twenty-six ancient human genomes were sequenced successfully and compared with modern DNA from people living in SE Asia today. The environment of SE Asia is NOT conducive to DNA preservation so this study is significant for that reason alone. Jungles have few skeletal remains and that’s one big reason we have such a difficult time finding the remains of ancient human ancestors in that area. Continue Reading
This news comes from the Harvard Medical School. Researchers there have completed the first whole-genome analysis of ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia and their study reveals that there were at least 3 major waves of human migration into the region over the past 50,000 years. Each migration helped shape the genetics of the modern people living in the area today.
The study defines SE Asia as being the area east of India and south of China. The ancient DNA was obtained from 18 ancient skeletal remains who lived between 4.1–1.7 kya in what is today Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, & Cambodia.
Results from this study indicate that the first migration took place about 45 kya by people who were hunter-gatherers. Then around 4500 years ago there was a large-scale influx of people from the area of China who brought with them farming. They interbred with the locals already in the region. During the Bronze Age there were more migrations from China into SE Asia. These people brought with them different languages. It’s interesting to note that the same pattern seen in this region echoes that seen in ancient Europe! That pattern is that first came the hunter-gatherers, then the farmers, and then the Bronze Age immigrants. However, there is a major difference because in Europe much of the ancestral diversity has faded due to population interbreeding but in SE Asia the people have retained more variation by far.
Researchers have concluded that the reason for this difference is because farmers arrived in SE Asia much more recently than in Europe around 4500 years ago compared to 8000 years ago in Europe. Thus, populations in SE Asia have not had as long to interbreed as they have in Europe. Continue Reading
H/T to JR Bentley for the below link…………….
An article appearing in “Science” on 24 April 2018 reports on new evidence concerning just when early humans began taking to the sea. The article suggests that Stone Age people may have indeed voyaged the Mediterranean Sea long before we thought possible.
A decade ago researchers found stone tools on the Island of Crete that dated back to at least 130,000 years and most archaeologists at the time were nothing short of stunned! Many were skeptical and remain so even today. However, over the past decade researchers at the site have built a rather convincing case for ancient seafaring during the Stone Age! And that’s not all because that evidence strongly suggests the possibility that Neanderthals were the sailors!!
I’ve blogged about this subject before postulating that seafaring was even undertaken by Homo erectus which I still hold to. That evidence suggesting Neanderthals were also seafarers does NOT surprise me in the least. In fact, I would expect it to be so!
What this newest evidence suggests is that seafaring predates modern humans both on the cognitive level and the technology level. Prior to this evidence the earliest seafarers were assumed to be from the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age ran from around 3300 to 1200 BC in the Near East and South Asia, and from around 3222 to 300 BC in Europe and East Asia. In contrast, the Stone Age lasted about 3.4 million years ending sometime between 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE. Continue Reading
800,000 years ago ancestors of Homo erectus were the dominate ancient human ancestor species on the planet. Mainstream science believes H. erectus first came out of Africa and migrated into the Levant and then spread across Asia, Europe, and the Far East (but never in the Americas of course). So is this true or is this some poppycock theory designed to hide the true origins of humanity today? Why do I ask such a question? Because there is apparent evidence that contradicts this theory about H. erectus and all those before them and, for that matter, it contradicts the entire theory of human evolution!
China’s Ming Dynasty & Lady Dai
In 2011 road workers in China uncovered a tomb from the Ming Dynasty period (700 years ago) near Taizhou in Eastern China. Inside the coffin archaeologist found layers of silk and linen covered in some unknown brown liquid and beneath these linens the found the remains of a woman. The remains were almost perfectly intact and well-preserved. Body, hair, skin, clothing, and jewelry we well-preserved and even her eyebrows and eyelashes were perfectly preserved! Researchers still don’t know what the brown liquid was but some have speculated that it may have been ground water that seeped into the coffin at some point. They don’t know what the brown liquid was but it may have been ground water? You mean they can’t identify groundwater????
Remains of Lady Dai, China
Ok nothing really mysterious about this find but it’s interesting nevertheless and obviously the Ming Dynasty had some highly skillful burial and preservation techniques. But then there is Lady Dai…………. Lady Dai is also known as Xin Zhui and the Marquise of Dai. Here ASTOUNDING remains were first found in 1971. She was the wife of Li Cang the Marquis of Dai during the Western Han Dynasty. Her tomb was discovered inside a hill in Hunan, China. The remains along with several artifacts and documents are now in the care of the Hunan Museum. The remains of Lady Dai are so exceptionally preserved that it is nothing short of astounding! Continue Reading
Is it possible that Neanderthals were actually in the Americas? According to mainstream theory (OOA) the Neanderthals made it just about everywhere except into the Americas. However, genetic studies are challenging that assumption! My own personal view is that they were and so was H. erectus. I think there is evidence of both having been in the Americas at one time or another as evidenced by Oldowan stone tools found by myself and many others in the Americas. And, also, the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey left his work in Africa and came to the Americas (Calico Hills, CA) fully expecting to find hominin fossil remains here like he found in Africa. Why was Leakey so convinced that he would find them?
Last week I posted about H. heidelbergensis and my conclusion is that he was an archaic Neanderthal. My conclusion also is that Heidelberg Man is likely not a common ancestor for the Neanderthals and H. sapiens (modern humans). That common ancestor may well be some hominim species we have not discovered yet and possibly might even be the Denisovans. That said, mainstream theory (OOA) holds the assumption that Neanderthals and modern humans share Heidelberg Man as a common ancestor and according to that theory the Neanderthals split from us about 300 kya. Neanderthals came to occupy most of Southern Europe, the Levant, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus region. We know this is so because we find their fossil remains in these places. They did not live in Sub-Sahara Africa and eventually they were replaced by modern humans. However, I hold the view that more than replacement the Neanderthals interbred with modern humans and I think frequently.
Map showing distribution of the B006 haplotype based on global samples of the 6092X chromosomes.
Back in 2011 genetic research conducted by a team led by Vania Yotova published research showing an X-linked haplotype of Neanderthal origins that is present in all non-African populations today. This study specifically focused on a very small part in the X chromosome known as the B006 haplotype and came up with some interesting conclusions.
What they found is that modern humans outside Africa share the B006 with Neanderthals and, in fact, this haplotype is very common outside Africa but it is nonexistent in Sub-Sahara Africa! What this suggests is that the B006 haplotype comes from a gene pool other than H. sapiens that lived outside of Africa and at some point interbred with H. sapiens and passed that haplotype on to H. sapiens. The contributor of this haplotype was the Neanderthals and was done via interbreeding with our species. Continue Reading
Denisova Cave, Altai Mtns, Siberia
An interesting idea was presented to me today which I had not considered until now. It is the idea that the Denisovan who lived in the Altai Mountains at Denisova Cave could have been exiles. That’s an interesting idea to say the least because the modern humans living in the region have no Denisova DNA and you’d think they would since it appears at least some Denisovans lived in the region long ago.
Denisova Cave is located in the Bashelaksky Range of the Altai Mountains, Siberia, Russia. Denisova Cave is a major archaeological site when it comes to the Denisovans because it’s the first place where remains were found that we had no idea existed. The cave also contains evidence of habitation by H. sapiens and Neanderthals. These habitations were concurrent, meaning, at the SAME time!
Map showing location of Altai Mountains
As recent as 2016 a needle made of bone was discovered here dating back 50 kya and it turned out to be the oldest known needle ever found. Sediments inside the cave are rich in animal remains including animals that are now extinct. They include remains from cave lions, cave hyenas, and numerous small mammals. Remains of reptiles have also been found in the cave sediment along with 50 bird species. Continue Reading
Heidelberg Man (Homo heidelbergensis) recreation at Atapuerca
Homo heidelbergensis (aka: Heidelberg Man) was just an archaic Neanderthal and was NOT a common ancient ancestor for H. sapiens and Neanderthals even though some people still seem to think so.
The OOA (Out of Africa) theory holds the view that Heidelberg Man is an ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals, however. That theory claims this hominin species was present in Africa, Europe, and Asia 600-200 kya. Their skulls have features of both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens and their brain size is almost as large as H. sapiens. Yet, keep in mind that Neanderthals had slightly larger brains than modern humans do. This species was first discovered in 1907 near Heidelberg, Germany.
Further, mainstream theory (OOA) says that Neanderthals, Denisovans, and H. sapiens all descended from Heidelberg Man who appeared in Africa around 700 kya where it is known as Homo rhodesiensis. Fossils have been found in Ethiopia, Namibia, and South Africa and the theory holds that somewhere between 400-300 kya a group of this species migrated into Europe and western Asia by unknown routes and that they evolved into the Neanderthals in Europe. Another group migrated out of Africa and into Asia and they evolved into the mysterious Denisovans. Those who remained in Africa (H. rhodesiensis) evolved into anatomically modern humans sometime between 300-200 kya according to conventional OOA theory. They then migrated in a second wave into Europe and Asia between 125-60 kya. And so that is basically what the OOA says but is it so?
Artistic depiction of Homo erectus
Some paleoanthropologists and others believe H. heidelbergensis is nothing more than a variant of H. erectus! Others hold the view that it was an archaic Neanderthal but not a common ancestor of Neanderthals and archaic modern humans, H. sapiens. So, again, the waters are muddied and everything is uncertain and foggy!! That is, unless you consider the following FACTS! Continue Reading
A paper that came out in September 2017 by Professor Ulfur Arnason calls for a new paradigm and it’s making some waves. Professor Arnason is a neuroscientist at the University of Lund in Sweden and in the paper he places the LAST COMMON ANCESTOR of Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) and the Neanderthals somewhere in EURASIA, not Africa. Professor Arnason argues that the ancesotrs of the African KhoeSan and Mbuti people formed the first exodus of modern humans INTO AFRICA out of ASIA AND EUROPE. If he’s right then his research calls the Out of Africa theory (OOA) into question, once again, as so much research is now doing but it’s all being ignored, summarily!
A simplified view of Hss migrations. The shaded area signifies an undefined Asian(Eurasian) area from which Hss dispersed. The red track shows the potential routes of KhoeSan, Mbuti and Yoruba outside the Hsnn range. KhoeSan and Mbuti may have diverged before their migration into Africa. The arrow-headed lines between Mbuti and Yoruba mark potential genetic exchange. The green track represents the common Asian origin of indigenous Australians, Papuans-New Guineans and the Andamanese (Mallick et al., 2016). Altai shows the location of the genetic contribution of Hss into Hsn (Kuhlwilm et al., 2016) and Daoxian Cave the location of the palaeontological Hss finds described by Liu et al. (2015). Image credit: Úlfur Árnason
Common belief is that the ancient human ancestors of modern humans lived somewhere in Africa and Homo sapiens evolved there first and migrated out of Africa to Europe and Asia. Most scientists hold the belief that the exact dating of this emergence out of Africa of our ancient ancestors remains to be resolved but they are ever so sure they will discover a date soon. However, the research of Professor Arnason suggests that the origination of Homo sapiens sapiens was in EURASIA NOT IN AFRICA!
Neanderthals and modern humans seem to have parted ways, at least genetically, sometime before 500 kya (thousand years ago). Arnason argues that this date places the first of our species somewhere in Eurasia and he adds this to what we know about the geographical range of Neanderthals.
Professor Arnason said, “The EXCLUSIVE occurrence of Neanderthals in EUROPE and ASIA and their ABSENCE from Africa restricts their origins to EURASIA,” and indeed it DOES! He went on to also say, “As a consequence, the origin of their sister-group (Homo sapiens sapiens; modern humans) should be placed in the SAME CONTINENT (ie: EURASIA).” He goes on saying that this hypothesis would then be in “compliance with the LCA (last common ancestor) understanding that the LCS of any two sister groups CANNOT be separated, neither in time nor space.” Amen to that!! Continue Reading