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1.
Nat Commun ; 15(1): 1882, 2024 Mar 25.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38528002

RESUMEN

A combination of evidence, based on genetic, fossil and archaeological findings, indicates that Homo sapiens spread out of Africa between ~70-60 thousand years ago (kya). However, it appears that once outside of Africa, human populations did not expand across all of Eurasia until ~45 kya. The geographic whereabouts of these early settlers in the timeframe between ~70-60 to 45 kya has been difficult to reconcile. Here we combine genetic evidence and palaeoecological models to infer the geographic location that acted as the Hub for our species during the early phases of colonisation of Eurasia. Leveraging on available genomic evidence we show that populations from the Persian Plateau carry an ancestry component that closely matches the population that settled the Hub outside Africa. With the paleoclimatic data available to date, we built ecological models showing that the Persian Plateau was suitable for human occupation and that it could sustain a larger population compared to other West Asian regions, strengthening this claim.


Asunto(s)
Arqueología , Fósiles , Humanos , África , Modelos Teóricos , Evolución Biológica
3.
Sci Adv ; 9(40): eadi6838, 2023 10 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-37792942

RESUMEN

Homo sapiens dispersed from Africa into Eurasia multiple times in the Middle and Late Pleistocene. The route, across northeastern Africa into the Levant, is a viable terrestrial corridor, as the present harsh southern Levant would probably have been savannahs and grasslands during the last interglaciation. Here, we document wetland sediments with luminescence ages falling in the last interglaciation in the southern Levant, showing protracted phases of moisture availability. Wetland sediments in Wadi Gharandal containing Levallois artifacts yielded an age of 84 ka. Our findings support the growing consensus for a well-watered Jordan Rift Valley that funneled migrants into western Asia and northern Arabia.


Asunto(s)
Ambiente , Fósiles , Humanos , África
4.
PLoS One ; 18(3): e0281872, 2023.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36857333

RESUMEN

Fossil and archaeological evidence indicates that hominin dispersals into Southwest Asia occurred throughout the Pleistocene, including the expansion of Homo sapiens populations out of Africa. While there is evidence for hominin occupations in the Pleistocene in Iran, as evidenced by the presence of Lower to Upper Paleolithic archaeological sites, the extent to which humid periods facilitated population expansions into western Asia has remained unclear. To test the role of humid periods on hominin dispersals here we assess Paleolithic site distributions and paleoenvironmental records across Iran. We developed the first spatially comprehensive, high-resolution paleohydrological model for Iran in order to assess water availability and its influence on hominin dispersals. We highlight environmentally mediated routes which likely played a key role in Late Pleistocene hominin dispersals, including the expansion of H. sapiens and Neanderthals eastwards into Asia. Our combined analyses indicate that, during MIS 5, there were opportunities for hominins to traverse a northern route through the Alborz and Kopet Dagh Mountains and the Dasht-I Kavir desert owing to the presence of activated fresh water sources. We recognize a new southern route along the Zagros Mountains and extending eastwards towards Pakistan and Afghanistan. We find evidence for a potential northern route during MIS 3, which would have permitted hominin movements and species interactions in Southwest Asia. Between humid periods, these interconnections would have waned, isolating populations in the Zagros and Alborz Mountains, where hominins may have continued to have had access to water.


Asunto(s)
Hominidae , Hombre de Neandertal , Humanos , Animales , Irán , Pakistán , Agua
5.
8.
Natl Sci Rev ; 8(1): nwaa053, 2021 Jan.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34691547

RESUMEN

The interplay between Pleistocene climatic variability and hominin adaptations to diverse terrestrial ecosystems is a key topic in human evolutionary studies. Early and Middle Pleistocene environmental change and its relation to hominin behavioural responses has been a subject of great interest in Africa and Europe, though little information is available for other key regions of the Old World, particularly from Eastern Asia. Here we examine key Early Pleistocene sites of the Nihewan Basin, in high-latitude northern China, dating between ∼1.4 and 1.0 million years ago (Ma). We compare stone-tool assemblages from three Early Pleistocene sites in the Nihewan Basin, including detailed assessment of stone-tool refitting sequences at the ∼1.1-Ma-old site of Cenjiawan. Increased toolmaking skills and technological innovations are evident in the Nihewan Basin at the onset of the Mid-Pleistocene Climate Transition (MPT). Examination of the lithic technology of the Nihewan sites, together with an assessment of other key Palaeolithic sites of China, indicates that toolkits show increasing diversity at the outset of the MPT and in its aftermath. The overall evidence indicates the adaptive flexibility of early hominins to ecosystem changes since the MPT, though regional abandonments are also apparent in high latitudes, likely owing to cold and oscillating environmental conditions. The view presented here sharply contrasts with traditional arguments that stone-tool technologies of China are homogeneous and continuous over the course of the Early Pleistocene.

9.
Nature ; 597(7876): 376-380, 2021 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34471286

RESUMEN

Pleistocene hominin dispersals out of, and back into, Africa necessarily involved traversing the diverse and often challenging environments of Southwest Asia1-4. Archaeological and palaeontological records from the Levantine woodland zone document major biological and cultural shifts, such as alternating occupations by Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. However, Late Quaternary cultural, biological and environmental records from the vast arid zone that constitutes most of Southwest Asia remain scarce, limiting regional-scale insights into changes in hominin demography and behaviour1,2,5. Here we report a series of dated palaeolake sequences, associated with stone tool assemblages and vertebrate fossils, from the Khall Amayshan 4 and Jubbah basins in the Nefud Desert. These findings, including the oldest dated hominin occupations in Arabia, reveal at least five hominin expansions into the Arabian interior, coinciding with brief 'green' windows of reduced aridity approximately 400, 300, 200, 130-75 and 55 thousand years ago. Each occupation phase is characterized by a distinct form of material culture, indicating colonization by diverse hominin groups, and a lack of long-term Southwest Asian population continuity. Within a general pattern of African and Eurasian hominin groups being separated by Pleistocene Saharo-Arabian aridity, our findings reveal the tempo and character of climatically modulated windows for dispersal and admixture.


Asunto(s)
Hominidae , Migración Humana/historia , Animales , Antropología , Arabia , Asia , Historia Antigua , Paleontología , Comportamiento del Uso de la Herramienta
10.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0256761, 2021.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34437643

RESUMEN

The antiquity and nature of coastal resource procurement is central to understanding human evolution and adaptations to complex environments. It has become increasingly apparent in global archaeological studies that the timing, characteristics, and trajectories of coastal resource use are highly variable. Within Africa, discussions of these issues have largely been based on the archaeological record from the south and northeast of the continent, with little evidence from eastern coastal areas leaving significant spatial and temporal gaps in our knowledge. Here, we present data from Panga ya Saidi, a limestone cave complex located 15 km from the modern Kenyan coast, which represents the first long-term sequence of coastal engagement from eastern Africa. Rather than attempting to distinguish between coastal resource use and coastal adaptations, we focus on coastal engagement as a means of characterising human relationships with marine environments and resources from this inland location. We use aquatic mollusc data spanning the past 67,000 years to document shifts in the acquisition, transportation, and discard of these materials, to better understand long-term trends in coastal engagement. Our results show pulses of coastal engagement beginning with low-intensity symbolism, and culminating in the consistent low-level transport of marine and freshwater food resources, emphasising a diverse relationship through time. Panga ya Saidi has the oldest stratified evidence of marine engagement in eastern Africa, and is the only site in Africa which documents coastal resources from the Late Pleistocene through the Holocene, highlighting the potential archaeological importance of peri-coastal sites to debates about marine resource relationships.


Asunto(s)
Adaptación Fisiológica/fisiología , Arqueología , Moluscos/fisiología , África Oriental , Animales , Cuevas , Humanos , Kenia , Moluscos/genética , Mariscos
11.
Evol Anthropol ; 30(6): 385-398, 2021 Nov.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34369041

RESUMEN

Plant wax biomarkers are an innovative proxy for reconstructing vegetation composition and structure, rainfall intensity, temperature, and other climatic and environmental dynamics. Traditionally used in earth sciences and climate studies from "off-site" ocean and lake records, biomarker research is now incorporated in archeology and paleoanthropology to answer questions relating to past human-environment interactions and human evolution. Biomarker research is generating new and exciting information on the ecological context in which Homo and its closest relatives evolved, adapted, and invented stone tool technologies. In this review, we examine plant wax biomarkers and their use in reconstructing past plant landscapes and hydroclimates. We summarize the applications of plant wax molecular proxies in archeological research, assess challenges relating to taphonomy, consider the role of modern plant ecosystems in interpreting ancient habitats, and examine case studies conducted at key paleoanthropological locations in eastern and southern Africa and Europe.


Asunto(s)
Arqueología , Ecosistema , África Austral , Biomarcadores , Europa (Continente) , Humanos
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 11465, 2021 06 01.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34075081

RESUMEN

Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5, ~ 130 to 71 thousand years ago, was a key period for the geographic expansion of Homo sapiens, including engagement with new landscapes within Africa and dispersal into Asia. Occupation of the Levant by Homo sapiens in MIS 5 is well established, while recent research has documented complementary evidence in Arabia. Here, we undertake the first detailed comparison of Levallois core technology from eastern Africa, Arabia, and the Levant during MIS 5, including multiple sites associated with Homo sapiens fossils. We employ quantitative comparisons of individual artefacts that provides a detailed appraisal of Levallois reduction activity in MIS 5, thereby enabling assessment of intra- and inter-assemblage variability for the first time. Our results demonstrate a pattern of geographically structured variability embedded within a shared focus on centripetal Levallois reduction schemes and overlapping core morphologies. We reveal directional changes in core shaping and flake production from eastern Africa to Arabia and the Levant that are independent of differences in geographic or environmental parameters. These results are consistent with a common cultural inheritance between these regions, potentially stemming from a shared late Middle Pleistocene source in eastern Africa.

13.
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
14.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 10111, 2021 05 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33980918

RESUMEN

The Arabian Peninsula is a critical geographic landmass situated between Africa and the rest of Eurasia. Climatic shifts across the Pleistocene periodically produced wetter conditions in Arabia, dramatically altering the spatial distribution of hominins both within and between continents. This is particularly true of Acheulean hominins, who appear to have been more tethered to water sources than Middle Palaeolithic hominins. However, until recently, chrono-cultural knowledge of the Acheulean of Arabia has been limited to one dated site, which indicated a hominin presence in Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 7-6. Here, we report the first dated Acheulean site from the Nefud Desert of northern Saudi Arabia, together with palaeoecological evidence for an associated deep, probably fresh-water, lake. The site of An Nasim features varied and often finely flaked façonnage handaxes. Luminescence ages together with geomorphological and palaeoecological evidence indicates that the associated artefacts date to MIS 9. At present, An Nasim represents the oldest yet documented Acheulean sites in Arabia, and adds to a growing picture of regionally diverse stone tool assemblages used by Middle Pleistocene hominins, and likely indicative of repeated population re-entry into the peninsula in wet 'Green Arabia' phases.

15.
J Hum Evol ; 153: 102954, 2021 04.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33714916

RESUMEN

The Middle to Later Stone Age transition is a critical period of human behavioral change that has been variously argued to pertain to the emergence of modern cognition, substantial population growth, and major dispersals of Homo sapiens within and beyond Africa. However, there is little consensus about when the transition occurred, the geographic patterning of its emergence, or even how it is manifested in the stone tool technology that is used to define it. Here, we examine a long sequence of lithic technological change at the cave site of Panga ya Saidi, Kenya, that spans the Middle and Later Stone Age and includes human occupations in each of the last five Marine Isotope Stages. In addition to the stone artifact technology, Panga ya Saidi preserves osseous and shell artifacts, enabling broader considerations of the covariation between different spheres of material culture. Several environmental proxies contextualize the artifactual record of human behavior at Panga ya Saidi. We compare technological change between the Middle and Later Stone Age with on-site paleoenvironmental manifestations of wider climatic fluctuations in the Late Pleistocene. The principal distinguishing feature of Middle from Later Stone Age technology at Panga ya Saidi is the preference for fine-grained stone, coupled with the creation of small flakes (miniaturization). Our review of the Middle to Later Stone Age transition elsewhere in eastern Africa and across the continent suggests that this broader distinction between the two periods is in fact widespread. We suggest that the Later Stone Age represents new short use-life and multicomponent ways of using stone tools, in which edge sharpness was prioritized over durability.


Asunto(s)
Arqueología , Bosques , Tecnología/historia , Clima Tropical , Historia Antigua , Humanos , Kenia
16.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 2869, 2021 02 15.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33589653

RESUMEN

Neanderthals occurred widely across north Eurasian landscapes, but between ~ 70 and 50 thousand years ago (ka) they expanded southwards into the Levant, which had previously been inhabited by Homo sapiens. Palaeoanthropological research in the first half of the twentieth century demonstrated alternate occupations of the Levant by Neanderthal and Homo sapiens populations, yet key early findings have largely been overlooked in later studies. Here, we present the results of new examinations of both the fossil and archaeological collections from Shukbah Cave, located in the Palestinian West Bank, presenting new quantitative analyses of a hominin lower first molar and associated stone tool assemblage. The hominin tooth shows clear Neanderthal affinities, making it the southernmost known fossil specimen of this population/species. The associated Middle Palaeolithic stone tool assemblage is dominated by Levallois reduction methods, including the presence of Nubian Levallois points and cores. This is the first direct association between Neanderthals and Nubian Levallois technology, demonstrating that this stone tool technology should not be considered an exclusive marker of Homo sapiens.

17.
Holocene ; 30(12): 1767-1779, 2020 Dec.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33132543

RESUMEN

Between 10 and six thousand years ago the Arabian Peninsula saw the most recent of the 'Green Arabia' periods, when increased rainfall transformed this generally arid region. The transition to the Neolithic in Arabia occurred during this period of climatic amelioration. Various forms of stone structures are abundant in northern Arabia, and it has been speculated that some of these dated to the Neolithic, but there has been little research on their character and chronology. Here we report a study of 104 'mustatil' stone structures from the southern margins of the Nefud Desert in northern Arabia. We provide the first chronometric age estimate for this type of structure - a radiocarbon date of ca. 5000 BC - and describe their landscape positions, architecture and associated material culture and faunal remains. The structure we have dated is the oldest large-scale stone structure known from the Arabian Peninsula. The mustatil phenomenon represents a remarkable development of monumental architecture, as hundreds of these structures were built in northwest Arabia. This 'monumental landscape' represents one of the earliest large-scale forms of monumental stone structure construction anywhere in the world. Further research is needed to understand the function of these structures, but we hypothesise that they were related to rituals in the context of the adoption of pastoralism and resulting territoriality in the challenging environments of northern Arabia.

18.
Sci Adv ; 6(38)2020 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32948582

RESUMEN

The nature of human dispersals out of Africa has remained elusive because of the poor resolution of paleoecological data in direct association with remains of the earliest non-African people. Here, we report hominin and non-hominin mammalian tracks from an ancient lake deposit in the Arabian Peninsula, dated within the last interglacial. The findings, it is argued, likely represent the oldest securely dated evidence for Homo sapiens in Arabia. The paleoecological evidence indicates a well-watered semi-arid grassland setting during human movements into the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia. We conclude that visitation to the lake was transient, likely serving as a place to drink and to forage, and that late Pleistocene human and mammalian migrations and landscape use patterns in Arabia were inexorably linked.

20.
PLoS One ; 15(8): e0236314, 2020.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32756558

RESUMEN

New World archaeologists have amply demonstrated that fluted point technology is specific to Terminal Pleistocene American cultures. Base-fluted, and rarer tip-fluted, projectile points from the Americas have been well-documented by archaeologists for nearly a century. Fluting is an iconic stone tool manufacturing method and a specific action that involves the extraction of a channel flake along the longitudinal axis of a bifacial piece. Here we report and synthesize information from Neolithic sites in southern Arabia, demonstrating the presence of fluting on a variety of stone tool types including projectile points. Fluted projectile points are known from both surface sites and stratified contexts in southern Arabia. Fluting technology has been clearly identified at the Manayzah site (Yemen) dating to 8000-7700 cal. BP. Examination of fluted points and channel flakes from southern Arabia enable a reconstruction of stone tool manufacturing techniques and reduction sequences (chaines opératoires). To illustrate the technological similarities and contrasts of fluting methods in Arabia and the Americas, comparative studies and experiments were conducted. Similarities in manufacturing approaches were observed on the fluting scars of bifacial pieces, whereas technological differences are apparent in the nature and localization of the flute and, most probably, the functional objective of fluting in economic, social and cultural contexts. Arabian and American fluted point technologies provide an excellent example of convergence of highly specialized stone tool production methods. Our description of Arabian and American fluting technology demonstrates that similar innovations and inventions were developed under different circumstances, and that highly-skilled and convergent production methods can have different anthropological implications.


Asunto(s)
Tecnología/historia , Américas , Arabia , Arqueología , Historia Antigua , Humanos , Invenciones/historia , Industria Manufacturera/historia , Yemen
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