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1.
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
2.
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.

3.
PLoS One ; 14(10): e0222606, 2019.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31577796

RESUMEN

Microliths-small, retouched, often-backed stone tools-are often interpreted to be the product of composite tools, including projectile weapons, and efficient hunting strategies by modern humans. In Europe and Africa these lithic toolkits are linked to hunting of medium- and large-sized game found in grassland or woodland settings, or as adaptations to risky environments during periods of climatic change. Here, we report on a recently excavated lithic assemblage from the Late Pleistocene cave site of Fa-Hien Lena in the tropical evergreen rainforest of Sri Lanka. Our analyses demonstrate that Fa-Hien Lena represents the earliest microlith assemblage in South Asia (c. 48,000-45,000 cal. years BP) in firm association with evidence for the procurement of small to medium size arboreal prey and rainforest plants. Moreover, our data highlight that the lithic technology of Fa-Hien Lena changed little over the long span of human occupation (c. 48,000-45,000 cal. years BP to c. 4,000 cal. years BP) indicating a successful, stable technological adaptation to the tropics. We argue that microlith assemblages were an important part of the environmental plasticity that enabled Homo sapiens to colonise and specialise in a diversity of ecological settings during its expansion within and beyond Africa. The proliferation of diverse microlithic technologies across Eurasia c. 48-45 ka was part of a flexible human 'toolkit' that assisted our species' spread into all of the world's environments, and the development of specialised technological and cultural approaches to novel ecological situations.


Asunto(s)
Arqueología , Cuevas , Bosque Lluvioso , Comportamiento del Uso de la Herramienta , Artefactos , Asia , Calibración , Geografía , Humanos , Datación Radiométrica , Sri Lanka , Factores de Tiempo
4.
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
5.
Hum Ecol Interdiscip J ; 46(3): 435-444, 2018.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29997411

RESUMEN

Headland and Bailey (1991) argued in Human Ecology that tropical forests could not support long-term human foraging in the absence of agriculture. Part of their thesis was based on the fact that supposedly isolated 'forest' foragers, such as the Wanniyalaeto (or Vedda) peoples of Sri Lanka, could be demonstrated to be enmeshed within historical trade networks and rely on crops as part of their overall subsistence. Yet, in the same volume and in the years that followed scholars have presented ethnographic and archaeological evidence, including from Sri Lanka, that counter this proposition, demonstrating the occupation and exploitation of tropical rainforest environments back to 38,000 years ago (ka) in this part of the world. However, archaeological and ethnohistorical research has yet to quantify the overall reliance of human foragers on tropical forest resources through time. Here, we report stable carbon and oxygen isotope data from historical Wanniyalaeto individuals from Sri Lanka, in full collaboration with the present-day members of this group, that suggest that while a number of individuals made use of agricultural resources in the recent past, others subsisted primarily on tropical forest resources as late as the 1800s.

6.
J Hum Evol ; 106: 102-118, 2017 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28434535

RESUMEN

Sri Lanka has yielded some of the earliest dated fossil evidence for Homo sapiens (∼38-35,000 cal. years BP [calibrated years before present]) in South Asia, within a region that is today covered by tropical rainforest. Archaeozoological and archaeobotanical evidence indicates that these hunter-gatherers exploited tropical forest resources, yet the contribution of these resources to their overall subsistence strategies has, as in other Late Pleistocene rainforest settings, remained relatively unexplored. We build on previous work in this tropical region by applying both bulk and sequential stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis to human and faunal tooth enamel from the sites of Batadomba-lena, Fa Hien-lena, and Balangoda Kuragala. Tooth enamel preservation was assessed by means of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. We use these data to produce a detailed stable isotope ecology for Late Pleistocene-Holocene foragers in Sri Lanka from ∼36-29,000 to 3000 cal. years BP, allowing us to test the degree of human tropical forest resource reliance over a considerable time period. Given that non-human primates dominate the mammalian assemblages at these sites, we also focus on the stable isotope composition of three monkey species in order to study their ecological preferences and, indirectly, human hunting strategies. The results confirm a strong human reliance on tropical forest resources from ∼36-29,000 cal. years BP until the Iron Age ∼3 cal. years BP, while sequential tooth data show that forest resources were exploited year-round. This strategy was maintained through periods of evident environmental change at the Last Glacial Maximum and upon the arrival of agriculture. Long-term tropical forest reliance was supported by the specialised capture of non-human primates, although the isotopic data revealed no evidence for niche distinction between the hunted species. We conclude that humans rapidly developed a specialisation in the exploitation of South Asia's tropical forests following their arrival in this region.


Asunto(s)
Esmalte Dental , Ecosistema , Fósiles , Bosque Lluvioso , Adaptación Fisiológica , Animales , Bosques , Frutas , Haplorrinos , Humanos , Isótopos , Sri Lanka
7.
Am J Primatol ; 79(6)2017 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28345759

RESUMEN

Stable isotope analysis of primate tissues in tropical forest contexts is an increasingly popular means of obtaining information about niche distinctions among sympatric species, including preferences in feeding height, forest canopy density, plant parts, and trophism. However, issues of equifinality mean that feeding height, canopy density, as well as the plant parts and plant species consumed, may produce similar or confounding effects. With a few exceptions, researchers have so far relied largely on general principles and/or limited plant data from the study area as references for deducing the predominant drivers of primate isotope variation. Here, we explore variation in the stable carbon (δ13 C), nitrogen (δ15 N), and oxygen (δ18 O) isotope ratios of 288 plant samples identified as important to the three primate species from the Polonnaruwa Nature Sanctuary, Sri Lanka, relative to plant part, season, and canopy height. Our results show that plant part and height have the greatest effect on the δ13 C and δ18 O measurements of plants of immediate relevance to the primates, Macaca sinica, Semnopithecus priam thersites, and Trachypithecus vetulus, living in this monsoonal tropical forest. We find no influence of plant part, height or season on the δ15 N of measured plants. While the plant part effect is particularly pronounced in δ13 C between fruits and leaves, differential feeding height, and plant taxonomy influence plant δ13 C and δ18 O differences in addition to plant organ. Given that species composition in different regions and forest types will differ, the results urge caution in extrapolating general isotopic trends without substantial local baselines studies.


Asunto(s)
Bosques , Primates , Animales , Isótopos de Carbono/análisis , Isótopos de Nitrógeno/análisis , Isótopos de Oxígeno/análisis , Plantas Comestibles , Sri Lanka
8.
Science ; 347(6227): 1246-9, 2015 Mar 13.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25766234

RESUMEN

Human occupation of tropical rainforest habitats is thought to be a mainly Holocene phenomenon. Although archaeological and paleoenvironmental data have hinted at pre-Holocene rainforest foraging, earlier human reliance on rainforest resources has not been shown directly. We applied stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis to human and faunal tooth enamel from four late Pleistocene-to-Holocene archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. The results show that human foragers relied primarily on rainforest resources from at least ~20,000 years ago, with a distinct preference for semi-open rainforest and rain forest edges. Homo sapiens' relationship with the tropical rainforests of South Asia is therefore long-standing, a conclusion that indicates the time-depth of anthropogenic reliance and influence on these habitats.


Asunto(s)
Fósiles , Bosque Lluvioso , Animales , Arqueología , Isótopos de Carbono/análisis , Esmalte Dental/química , Dieta , Historia Antigua , Humanos , Isótopos de Oxígeno/análisis , Paleodontología , Plantas , Sri Lanka , Tiempo , Árboles
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