Moderator: Starbuck

Palaeolithic specimen from Tianyuan Cave area

Maju
Advanced Member
Maju
Advanced Member
Joined: January 1st, 2006, 4:59 pm

April 3rd, 2007, 8:07 pm #1

BBC: Ancient human unearthed in China. The source is a PNAS paper but I don't think I'd be able to find it.

Researchers found 34 bone fragments belonging to a single individual at the Tianyuan Cave, near Beijing.

(...)

Radiocarbon dates, obtained directly from the bones, show the person lived between 42,000 and 39,000 years ago.

"For this time period, which is critical for understanding the spread of modern humans around the world, we have two well-dated human fossils from eastern Asia," said co-author Professor Erik Trinkaus, from Washington University in St Louis, US.

"We have remains from the Niah Cave from Sarawak on Borneo, and now this specimen from China. As you go west, the next specimens are from Lebanon. There's nothing in between.


And now the controversy:

The Tianyuan remains display diagnostic features of modern H. sapiens. But co-author Erik Trinkaus and his colleagues argue, controversially, that the bones also display features characteristic of earlier human species, such as relatively large front teeth.


The jaw fragment found. Weared off frontal teeth are not very visible actually.

The most likely explanation, they argue, is interbreeding between early modern humans emerging from Africa and the archaic populations they encountered in Europe and Asia.

(...)

The view of interbreeding between Homo sapiens and archaic humans is controversial. Other palaeoanthropologists say that some of these features are simply retained from ancient African ancestors.

And most genetic evidence gathered from present-day humans does not appear to support significant interbreeding between modern humans from Africa and archaics.


Other findings are this person's rather venerable age (for what is usually claimed for the Paleolithic life expectancy) estimated between 40 and 50 years old, that he/she apparently wore shoes (based on a single toe fragment), that he/she had lost some of his/her teeth and that he/she suffered from some knee lesion or disease that nevertheless did not disable him/her.
Chaos never died,
the Empire was never founded.
Quote
Like
Share

ren
Advanced Member
ren
Advanced Member
Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 3:35 am

April 3rd, 2007, 8:19 pm #2

According to one source, the non-Modern features are actually "Neanderthal", link. If it can be correctly attributed to Neanderthals, that would either suggest Neanderthals were in northastern Asia or this guy or his ancestors were in a region populated by Neanderthals ("Central Asia).

Of course, just exactly what the study says is not available. The study has not actually been published on PNAS.
Quote
Like
Share

Maju
Advanced Member
Maju
Advanced Member
Joined: January 1st, 2006, 4:59 pm

April 4th, 2007, 1:13 pm #3

Neanderthal?! :huh:

That would be really curious if confirmed, nevertheless the BBC article talks of "him" (could be "her" a well, as the gender seems not determined) as clearly H. sapiens, even if with some archaic traits, arguably due to admixture or to specific evolution of "his" lineage.

Too bad that the paper is not yet published.

Anyhow (assuming "he" is a modern human), what stroke to me a lot was the lack of human remains of that age (I wasn't really aware of this). I know they are relatiely scarce but such a huge blank between Lebanon and Borneo is kind of discouraging. I guess that tropical conditions don't help with preservation of orgainc remains (and bones are organic after all) but still it would be much more illustrative if we had some dozen or so of sites scattered around Asia.

Also, it called my attention the relatively "late" datation. I mean: 40 milennia ago is also the approximate date of modern humans arriving to Europe (according to most), while the date of the migration out-of-Africa would be much earlier, c. 75-65 milennia ago. If we can take this date as the earliest modern spread to East Asia (probably it's not but just for the discussion), it would mean that Eurasian modern humans had remained limited to tropical Asia (the Lebanon case in fact doesn't seem to matter, as Neanderthals seem to have displaced them later) for maybe 30 milennia.

Well, these are my thoughts.
Chaos never died,
the Empire was never founded.
Quote
Like
Share

Don
Member
Don
Member
Joined: June 4th, 2006, 7:08 pm

April 4th, 2007, 2:11 pm #4

Remember our earlier threads about whether Europeans could have Neandertal admixture?

I imagine it's impossible to do mtDNA or Y chromosome analysis on the skeletons in question to see if there are matches with any current or ancient populations

If the skeletons were found near Beijing, if my memory is correct, this is much further East than Neandertal has been know to exist.
Quote
Like
Share

ren
Advanced Member
ren
Advanced Member
Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 3:35 am

April 4th, 2007, 4:49 pm #5

Maju wrote:Neanderthal?!  :huh:
I meant that it's a Modern with Neanderthal features...
wrote:Anyhow (assuming "he" is a modern human), what stroke to me a lot was the lack of human remains of that age (I wasn't really aware of this). I know they are relatiely scarce but such a huge blank between Lebanon and Borneo is kind of discouraging.
wrote:Also, it called my attention the relatively "late" datation. I mean: 40 milennia ago is also the approximate date of modern humans arriving to Europe (according to most), while the date of the migration out-of-Africa would be much earlier, c. 75-65 milennia ago. If we can take this date as the earliest modern spread to East Asia (probably it's not but just for the discussion), it would mean that Eurasian modern humans had remained limited to tropical Asia (the Lebanon case in fact doesn't seem to matter, as Neanderthals seem to have displaced them later) for maybe 30 milennia.
New finds at Obi Rakhmat maybe Modern, dated at 72K. Teshik Tash child, which was evaluated as Neanderthal, could be Modern. Both sites are in Central Asia.
http://www.paleoanthro.org/journal/content/PAS2006A.pdf
Quote
Like
Share

Maju
Advanced Member
Maju
Advanced Member
Joined: January 1st, 2006, 4:59 pm

April 4th, 2007, 9:16 pm #6

I noticed you edited your post, Ren. Anyhow it would be relevant if this person had neanderthaloid features (and his/her partial Neanderthal ancestry could maybe be confirmed via genetic analysis maybe). Nevertheless there is a difference on Neanderthals as such having reached northern China (what isn't the case AFAIK) and moderns with arguable Neanderthal admixture having done it instead (the admixture would had probably happened before reaching China, maybe in Central Asia).

Regarding your link (what a long, yet interesting, list of abstracts!), I noticed the following:
wrote:Patterns of dental calcification and eruption in modern humans have been employed as standards for comparisons with earlier members of the human lineage. The goals of these studies have been to interpret life history variables in the past as well as in the construction of phylogenetic relationships. Recent research in dental maturation in both chimpanzees and modern humans suggests that a critical re-evaluation of the standards in current use may be necessary. Zihlman and colleagues (2004) have shown that the patterns of dental development in a series of known age free ranging chimpanzees from the Gombe Stream National Park
(Tanzania) are significantly different from the timing of patterns observed in samples of captive animals. Nadler (1998) has reported recent shifts in the timing of dental maturation in a sample of 150 children of European background. (A. Mann & J. Monge)
This would mean that the size of teeth that is used to refer to these people as mixed with archaics is not really relevant (unless other less plastic traits would indicate the same). Yet, in another abstract, Collard and Lycett only partly agree with this issue of epigenetic variation as confussing:
wrote:We conclude that epigenetic variation plays only a minor confounding role in hominid taxonomy, and that wherever possible total available morphometric information should be employed.
In yet another abstract of the same list, T. Weaver seems to have developed a model to classify Neanderthal and Modern human teeth quite accurately (at least in Western Europe, where his model almost systematically (over 90%) yields Chatelperronian teeth as Neander and aurignacian teeth as Sapiens), yet the certainty is of "only" c. 85% for isolated samples, as this one.

There seems to be much in play on these dental remains, specially when the challenge is to identify a single specimen, as in this Chinese case.

I don't know if this issue of teeth played any role in the case of the two Central Asian remains now claimed as Modern but it seems in these cases more complete data is available.
Chaos never died,
the Empire was never founded.
Quote
Like
Share

ren
Advanced Member
ren
Advanced Member
Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 3:35 am

April 6th, 2007, 8:37 pm #7

The new study is out. The "archaic" features are "Neanderthal", in the sense that they compared him/her with Neanderthals, since no Erectus has been found in northern Asia (There's a 60,000-year gap in the fossil record of either a depopulation following an ice age or just hard luck.).

It also shows similarities to Moderns of the Middle Paleolithic from Haua Fteah (North Africa), Qafzeh and Skhul (Levant), and has long legs relative to body, very tropical but also like the pre-ice age "Cro-Magnons".

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0702169104v1

Critique:
Where is the comparison with the African finds??? It's generally acknowledged that Qafzeh and Skhul, although modern, was not the direct ancestors of Eurasians but rather an earlier extra-African branch (the first Modern exodus out of Africa via the Sinai) that died out. Our ancestors is commonly accepted to be from the second exodus out via East Africa.

Only if the East African specimens do not have these "archaic features" can we say that these "archaic" features are non-Sapiens.
Quote
Like
Share

Maju
Advanced Member
Maju
Advanced Member
Joined: January 1st, 2006, 4:59 pm

April 7th, 2007, 2:36 pm #8

I agree: the East African reference is a must. Some people seems to think still in terms of the OOA via the Near East, a hypothesis that has lost much weight recently.
Chaos never died,
the Empire was never founded.
Quote
Like
Share

ren
Advanced Member
ren
Advanced Member
Joined: January 2nd, 2005, 3:35 am

April 25th, 2007, 10:41 pm #9

The Keilor cranium has been claimed to have evolved from a more ancient Chinese lineage that includes modern specimens from Liujiang and archaic humans
from Zhoukoudian (Frayer et al., 1993; Wolpoff et al., 1984). The present study has failed to detect phenetic affinity between Zhoukoudian remains and Chinese
Pleistocene modern crania.


Fromt he new study on Australian aborigine origins...
It seems that the earliest Modern humans in East Asia do not show similarities with Erectus of that region, which raises the questions about those "Neanderthal" features detected by Trinkaus.
Quote
Like
Share

black man
Advanced Member
black man
Advanced Member
Joined: July 11th, 2005, 8:13 pm

July 13th, 2017, 5:14 pm #10

changed thread title from "Earliest Asian Sapien unveiled" (sic!) into "Palaeolithic specimen from Tianyuan Cave area".

Possibly of interest:

Pontus Skoglund on July 3rd 2017,
https://twitter.com/pontus_skoglund/sta ... 5386670082

15.27:
"2 years ago we published puzzling signal of gene flow linking Australia to the Amazon, posited link through SIberia https://reich.hms.harvard.edu/sites/rei ... d_2015.pdf …"

15.29:
"Now Melinda Yang in her #SMBE17 talk finds direct link to same signal in 40k year old individual from Tianyuan China, builds detailed model!"

Maybe you'll find more news on this topic...
Quote
Like
Share