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2.
Sci Rep ; 14(1): 9528, 2024 Apr 25.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38664411

RESUMEN

The newly excavated rockshelter of Yeghegis-1 in Armenia reflects an occupation of five centuries, as attested by radiocarbon dates from ∼ 4100 to 4000 cal BCE in the lowest layer to ∼ 3600-3500 cal BCE at the top. It is a partially collapsed cave in which pastoralists, we hypothesize, wintered with their herds. The stone tool assemblage is predominantly obsidian (92.1%), despite the shelter being > 60 km on foot from the nearest sources. We use obsidian sourcing to investigate two purported trends in the Southern Caucasus during the Chalcolithic Period: (1) occupation of more varied high-altitude environments and (2) more expansive social networks. Our data show both trends were dynamic phenomena. There was a greater balance in use of the nearest pasturelands over time, perhaps linked to risk management and/or resource sustainability. During later occupations, artifacts from distant sources reveal more extensive connections. This increase in connectivity likely played a central role in the shifts in societal complexity that gave rise to widely shared material culture throughout the Armenian Highlands around the start of the Early Bronze Age. In such a model, greater social connectivity becomes a key mechanism for, rather than a product of, the spread of cultural and/or technological innovations.

3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 121(1): e2311280120, 2024 Jan 02.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38147645

RESUMEN

The dominant paradigm is that large tracts of Southeast Asia's lowland rainforests were replaced with a "savanna corridor" during the cooler, more seasonal climates of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (23,000 to 19,000 y ago). This interpretation has implications for understanding the resilience of Asia's tropical forests to projected climate change, implying a vulnerability to "savannization". A savanna corridor is also an important foundation for archaeological interpretations of how humans moved through and settled insular Southeast Asia and Australia. Yet an up-to-date, multiproxy, and empirical examination of the palaeoecological evidence for this corridor is lacking. We conducted qualitative and statistical analyses of 59 palaeoecological records across Southeast Asia to test the evidence for LGM savannization and clarify the relationships between methods, biogeography, and ecological change in the region from the start of Late Glacial Period (119,000 y ago) to the present. The pollen records typically show montane forest persistence during the LGM, while δ13C biomarker proxies indicate the expansion of C4-rich grasslands. We reconcile this discrepancy by hypothesizing the expansion of montane forest in the uplands and replacement of rainforest with seasonally dry tropical forest in the lowlands. We also find that smooth forest transitions between 34,000 and 2,000 y ago point to the capacity of Southeast Asia's ecosystems both to resist and recover from climate stressors, suggesting resilience to savannization. Finally, the timing of ecological change observed in our combined datasets indicates an 'early' onset of the LGM in Southeast Asia from ~30,000 y ago.


Asunto(s)
Ecosistema , Bosques , Humanos , Bosque Lluvioso , Cambio Climático , Asia Sudoriental
4.
Am J Biol Anthropol ; 182(3): 467-475, 2023 Nov.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37632710

RESUMEN

OBJECTIVES: (Sub)fossil lorises are rare in Southeast Asia. Their taxonomic relationship with extant populations, and the extent to which their distribution and morphology are influenced by changing environmental conditions, remains poorly understood. This study provides a synthesis of Nycticebus occurrences in Holocene Java. A morphometric analysis of a sample of craniodental remains aims to improve our understanding of their taxonomic status. Morphometrics were also used to explore potential size changes during the Holocene. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Based on the literature and a review of museum catalogs, a synthesis was compiled of (sub)fossil slow loris occurrences in Java. Morphometric data on the mandible and maxilla of 10 (sub)fossil lorises were compared with a dataset of extant specimens to assess variation in size and shape. RESULTS: Five Holocene Nycticebus occurrences were identified in eastern Java. All specimens fall in the range of N. javanicus and N. coucang. The specimens from Hoekgrot, Gua Jimbe, and Sampung suggest an affinity to N. javanicus. The remains from Gua Jimbe and Hoekgrot gave values close to the largest N. javanicus specimens, but the (presumably older) Song Terus specimen was of average size. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: The distribution of Nycticebus suggests that it originally occurred throughout the island. The remains are probably best identified as N. javanicus or N. coucang, but the Neolithic finds from Hoekgrot and Gua Jimbe are presumably N. javanicus. Size variation in Nycticebus was clinal, but although some large specimens were present, no evidence was found for size diminution during the Holocene.

5.
PLoS One ; 18(6): e0281415, 2023.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37390048

RESUMEN

A large part of our material culture is made of organic materials, and this was likely the case also during prehistory. Amongst this prehistoric organic material culture are textiles and cordages, taking advantage of the flexibility and resistance of plant fibres. While in very exceptional cases and under very favourable circumstances, fragments of baskets and cords have survived and were discovered in late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological sites, these objects are generally not preserved, especially in tropical regions. We report here indirect evidence of basket/tying material making found on stone tools dating to 39-33,000 BP from Tabon Cave, Palawan Philippines. The distribution of use-wear on these artefacts is the same as the distribution observed on experimental tools used to thin fibres, following a technique that is widespread in the region currently. The goal of this activity is to turn hard plant segments into supple strips suitable as tying material or to weave baskets, traps, and even boats. This study shows early evidence of this practice in Southeast Asia and adds to the growing set of discoveries showing that fibre technology was an integral part of late Pleistocene skillset. This paper also provides a new way to identify supple strips of fibres made of tropical plants in the archaeological record, an organic technology that is otherwise most of the time invisible.


Asunto(s)
Arqueología , Artefactos , Filipinas , Cuevas , Tecnología
7.
PLoS One ; 17(10): e0273450, 2022.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36227910

RESUMEN

Recent archaeological investigations in Sri Lanka have reported evidence for the exploitation and settlement of tropical rainforests by Homo sapiens since c. 48,000 BP. Information on technological approaches used by human populations in rainforest habitats is restricted to two cave sites, Batadomba-lena and Fa-Hien Lena. Here, we provide detailed study of the lithic assemblages of Kitulgala Beli-lena, a recently excavated rockshelter preserving a sedimentary sequence from the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene. Our analysis indicates in situ lithic production and the recurrent use of the bipolar method for the production of microliths. Stone tool analyses demonstrate long-term technological stability from c. 45,000 to 8,000 years BP, a pattern documented in other rainforest locations. Foraging behaviour is characterised by the use of lithic bipolar by-products together with osseous projectile points for the consistent targeting of semi-arboreal/arboreal species, allowing for the widespread and recurrent settlement of the wet zone of Sri Lanka.


Asunto(s)
Hominidae , Bosque Lluvioso , Animales , Arqueología , Cuevas , Fósiles , Humanos , Tecnología , Árboles
8.
Nat Ecol Evol ; 5(8): 1174-1184, 2021 08.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34112995

RESUMEN

It has been suggested that Iberian arrival in the Americas in 1492 and subsequent dramatic depopulation led to forest regrowth that had global impacts on atmospheric CO2 concentrations and surface temperatures. Despite tropical forests representing the most important terrestrial carbon stock globally, systematic examination of historical afforestation in these habitats in the Neotropics is lacking. Additionally, there has been no assessment of similar depopulation-afforestation dynamics in other parts of the global tropics that were incorporated into the Spanish Empire. Here, we compile and semi-quantitatively analyse pollen records from the regions claimed by the Spanish in the Atlantic and Pacific to provide pan-tropical insights into European colonial impacts on forest dynamics. Our results suggest that periods of afforestation over the past millennium varied across space and time and depended on social, economic and biogeographic contexts. We argue that this reveals the unequal and divergent origins of the Anthropocene as a socio-political and biophysical process, highlighting the need for higher-resolution, targeted analyses to fully elucidate pre-colonial and colonial era human-tropical landscape interactions.


Asunto(s)
Bosques , Clima Tropical , Américas , Asia , Ecosistema , Humanos
9.
Nature ; 593(7857): 95-100, 2021 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33953416

RESUMEN

The origin and evolution of hominin mortuary practices are topics of intense interest and debate1-3. Human burials dated to the Middle Stone Age (MSA) are exceedingly rare in Africa and unknown in East Africa1-6. Here we describe the partial skeleton of a roughly 2.5- to 3.0-year-old child dating to 78.3 ± 4.1 thousand years ago, which was recovered in the MSA layers of Panga ya Saidi (PYS), a cave site in the tropical upland coast of Kenya7,8. Recent excavations have revealed a pit feature containing a child in a flexed position. Geochemical, granulometric and micromorphological analyses of the burial pit content and encasing archaeological layers indicate that the pit was deliberately excavated. Taphonomical evidence, such as the strict articulation or good anatomical association of the skeletal elements and histological evidence of putrefaction, support the in-place decomposition of the fresh body. The presence of little or no displacement of the unstable joints during decomposition points to an interment in a filled space (grave earth), making the PYS finding the oldest known human burial in Africa. The morphological assessment of the partial skeleton is consistent with its assignment to Homo sapiens, although the preservation of some primitive features in the dentition supports increasing evidence for non-gradual assembly of modern traits during the emergence of our species. The PYS burial sheds light on how MSA populations interacted with the dead.


Asunto(s)
Entierro/historia , Fósiles , Esqueleto/anatomía & histología , Animales , Huesos/anatomía & histología , Preescolar , Evolución Cultural/historia , Dentición , Historia Antigua , Hominidae/anatomía & histología , Hominidae/clasificación , Humanos , Kenia
10.
Trends Ecol Evol ; 36(4): 345-359, 2021 04.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33431163

RESUMEN

Non-human primates are among the most vulnerable tropical animals to extinction and ~50% of primate species are endangered. Human hunting is considered a major cause of increasingly 'empty forests', yet archaeological data remains under-utilised in testing this assertion over the longer-term. Zooarchaeological datasets allow investigation of human exploitation of primates and the reconstruction of extinction, extirpation, and translocation processes. We evaluate the application and limitations of data from zooarchaeological studies spanning the past 45 000 years in South and Southeast Asia in guiding primate conservation efforts. We highlight that environmental change was the primary threat to many South and Southeast Asian non-human primate populations during much of the Holocene, foreshadowing human-induced land-use and environmental change as major threats of the 21st century.


Asunto(s)
Conservación de los Recursos Naturales , Ecosistema , Animales , Arqueología , Bosques , Humanos , Primates
11.
Sci Adv ; 6(24): eaba3831, 2020 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32582854

RESUMEN

Archaeologists contend that it was our aptitude for symbolic, technological, and social behaviors that was central to Homo sapiens rapidly expanding across the majority of Earth's continents during the Late Pleistocene. This expansion included movement into extreme environments and appears to have resulted in the displacement of numerous archaic human populations across the Old World. Tropical rainforests are thought to have been particularly challenging and, until recently, impenetrable by early H. sapiens. Here, we describe evidence for bow-and-arrow hunting toolkits alongside a complex symbolic repertoire from 48,000 years before present at the Sri Lankan site of Fa-Hien Lena-the earliest bow-and-arrow technology outside of Africa. As one of the oldest H. sapiens rainforest sites outside of Africa, this exceptional assemblage provides the first detailed insights into how our species met the extreme adaptive challenges that were encountered in Asia during global expansion.

12.
Nat Commun ; 10(1): 739, 2019 02 19.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30783099

RESUMEN

Defining the distinctive capacities of Homo sapiens relative to other hominins is a major focus for human evolutionary studies. It has been argued that the procurement of small, difficult-to-catch, agile prey is a hallmark of complex behavior unique to our species; however, most research in this regard has been limited to the last 20,000 years in Europe and the Levant. Here, we present detailed faunal assemblage and taphonomic data from Fa-Hien Lena Cave in Sri Lanka that demonstrates specialized, sophisticated hunting of semi-arboreal and arboreal monkey and squirrel populations from ca. 45,000 years ago, in a tropical rainforest environment. Facilitated by complex osseous and microlithic technologies, we argue these data highlight that the early capture of small, elusive mammals was part of the plastic behavior of Homo sapiens that allowed it to rapidly colonize a series of extreme environments that were apparently untouched by its hominin relatives.


Asunto(s)
Huesos/anatomía & histología , Fósiles , Conducta Predatoria , Bosque Lluvioso , Animales , Arqueología , Evolución Biológica , Cuevas , Geografía , Haplorrinos/fisiología , Hominidae , Humanos , Mamíferos/fisiología , Sciuridae/fisiología , Sri Lanka
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