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Human remains from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition of southwest China suggest a complex evolutionary history for East Asians.

Curnoe D, Xueping J, Herries AI, Kanning B, Taçon PS, Zhende B, Fink D, Yunsheng Z, Hellstrom J, Yun L, Cassis G, Bing S, Wroe S, Shi H, Parr WC, Shengmin H, Rogers N - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: We dated charcoal with AMS radiocarbon dating and speleothem with the Uranium-series technique and the results show both samples to be from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition: ∼14.3-11.5 ka.First, it may represent a late-surviving archaic population, perhaps paralleling the situation seen in North Africa as indicated by remains from Dar-es-Soltane and Temara, and maybe also in southern China at Zhirendong.Alternatively, East Asia may have been colonised during multiple waves during the Pleistocene, with the Longlin-Maludong morphology possibly reflecting deep population substructure in Africa prior to modern humans dispersing into Eurasia.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. d.curnoe@unsw.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Background: Later Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia remains poorly understood owing to a scarcity of well described, reliably classified and accurately dated fossils. Southwest China has been identified from genetic research as a hotspot of human diversity, containing ancient mtDNA and Y-DNA lineages, and has yielded a number of human remains thought to derive from Pleistocene deposits. We have prepared, reconstructed, described and dated a new partial skull from a consolidated sediment block collected in 1979 from the site of Longlin Cave (Guangxi Province). We also undertook new excavations at Maludong (Yunnan Province) to clarify the stratigraphy and dating of a large sample of mostly undescribed human remains from the site.

Methodology/principal findings: We undertook a detailed comparison of cranial, including a virtual endocast for the Maludong calotte, mandibular and dental remains from these two localities. Both samples probably derive from the same population, exhibiting an unusual mixture of modern human traits, characters probably plesiomorphic for later Homo, and some unusual features. We dated charcoal with AMS radiocarbon dating and speleothem with the Uranium-series technique and the results show both samples to be from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition: ∼14.3-11.5 ka.

Conclusions/significance: Our analysis suggests two plausible explanations for the morphology sampled at Longlin Cave and Maludong. First, it may represent a late-surviving archaic population, perhaps paralleling the situation seen in North Africa as indicated by remains from Dar-es-Soltane and Temara, and maybe also in southern China at Zhirendong. Alternatively, East Asia may have been colonised during multiple waves during the Pleistocene, with the Longlin-Maludong morphology possibly reflecting deep population substructure in Africa prior to modern humans dispersing into Eurasia.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Maludong mandibles MLDG 1679 (left) and MLDG 1706 (right) (scale bar = 1 cm).NB: MLDG 1706 is broken through its symphysis just lateral to the MSP.
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pone-0031918-g007: Maludong mandibles MLDG 1679 (left) and MLDG 1706 (right) (scale bar = 1 cm).NB: MLDG 1706 is broken through its symphysis just lateral to the MSP.

Mentions: The LL 1 mandible (Figure 6) and two partial mandibles recovered from Maludong (MLDG 1679 and MLDG 1706: Figure 7) are also compared. Specimen LL 1 comprises a largely complete body, but is missing its left ramus save the root and coronoid process, and lacks the entire right ramus. The position of the take-off of the left ramus relative to M3 makes clear that a retromolar space would have been present (M3 being uncovered [21]). The external surface of the symphysis has been displaced superiorly such that the bone is out of alignment with the alveolar process. This makes accurate assessment of chin development problematic. The left alveolar part retains the roots and crowns of I1, canine, P3, partial P4, M2 and partial M3. The first molar is missing and the alveolar bone shows signs of ante-mortem tooth loss with resorption and new bone growth/remodelling. Much of the right body is preserved and retains the mental foramen, I1-P4 and M2 roots and crowns. The right M1 seems again to have been lost ante-mortem, with signs of remodelling of the alveolar bone. The transverse tori are somewhat thickened such that the internal surface of the symphysis is not vertical, a small internal plane being present.


Human remains from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition of southwest China suggest a complex evolutionary history for East Asians.

Curnoe D, Xueping J, Herries AI, Kanning B, Taçon PS, Zhende B, Fink D, Yunsheng Z, Hellstrom J, Yun L, Cassis G, Bing S, Wroe S, Shi H, Parr WC, Shengmin H, Rogers N - PLoS ONE (2012)

Maludong mandibles MLDG 1679 (left) and MLDG 1706 (right) (scale bar = 1 cm).NB: MLDG 1706 is broken through its symphysis just lateral to the MSP.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3303470&req=5

pone-0031918-g007: Maludong mandibles MLDG 1679 (left) and MLDG 1706 (right) (scale bar = 1 cm).NB: MLDG 1706 is broken through its symphysis just lateral to the MSP.
Mentions: The LL 1 mandible (Figure 6) and two partial mandibles recovered from Maludong (MLDG 1679 and MLDG 1706: Figure 7) are also compared. Specimen LL 1 comprises a largely complete body, but is missing its left ramus save the root and coronoid process, and lacks the entire right ramus. The position of the take-off of the left ramus relative to M3 makes clear that a retromolar space would have been present (M3 being uncovered [21]). The external surface of the symphysis has been displaced superiorly such that the bone is out of alignment with the alveolar process. This makes accurate assessment of chin development problematic. The left alveolar part retains the roots and crowns of I1, canine, P3, partial P4, M2 and partial M3. The first molar is missing and the alveolar bone shows signs of ante-mortem tooth loss with resorption and new bone growth/remodelling. Much of the right body is preserved and retains the mental foramen, I1-P4 and M2 roots and crowns. The right M1 seems again to have been lost ante-mortem, with signs of remodelling of the alveolar bone. The transverse tori are somewhat thickened such that the internal surface of the symphysis is not vertical, a small internal plane being present.

Bottom Line: We dated charcoal with AMS radiocarbon dating and speleothem with the Uranium-series technique and the results show both samples to be from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition: ∼14.3-11.5 ka.First, it may represent a late-surviving archaic population, perhaps paralleling the situation seen in North Africa as indicated by remains from Dar-es-Soltane and Temara, and maybe also in southern China at Zhirendong.Alternatively, East Asia may have been colonised during multiple waves during the Pleistocene, with the Longlin-Maludong morphology possibly reflecting deep population substructure in Africa prior to modern humans dispersing into Eurasia.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. d.curnoe@unsw.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Background: Later Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia remains poorly understood owing to a scarcity of well described, reliably classified and accurately dated fossils. Southwest China has been identified from genetic research as a hotspot of human diversity, containing ancient mtDNA and Y-DNA lineages, and has yielded a number of human remains thought to derive from Pleistocene deposits. We have prepared, reconstructed, described and dated a new partial skull from a consolidated sediment block collected in 1979 from the site of Longlin Cave (Guangxi Province). We also undertook new excavations at Maludong (Yunnan Province) to clarify the stratigraphy and dating of a large sample of mostly undescribed human remains from the site.

Methodology/principal findings: We undertook a detailed comparison of cranial, including a virtual endocast for the Maludong calotte, mandibular and dental remains from these two localities. Both samples probably derive from the same population, exhibiting an unusual mixture of modern human traits, characters probably plesiomorphic for later Homo, and some unusual features. We dated charcoal with AMS radiocarbon dating and speleothem with the Uranium-series technique and the results show both samples to be from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition: ∼14.3-11.5 ka.

Conclusions/significance: Our analysis suggests two plausible explanations for the morphology sampled at Longlin Cave and Maludong. First, it may represent a late-surviving archaic population, perhaps paralleling the situation seen in North Africa as indicated by remains from Dar-es-Soltane and Temara, and maybe also in southern China at Zhirendong. Alternatively, East Asia may have been colonised during multiple waves during the Pleistocene, with the Longlin-Maludong morphology possibly reflecting deep population substructure in Africa prior to modern humans dispersing into Eurasia.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus