Anthropology news

A northern odyssey

In the far north of Eurasia, at Byzovaya in the Ural Mountains, some kind of a Neanderthal mystery has emerged- and an explanation is hampered by C14 methodology. Stone implements said to date from between 34,000 and 31,000 years ago resemble scraping and cutting tools associated with Neanderthals - but the dating implies they belong to modern humans. In fact, the period between 40,000 and 30,000 years is problematic as far as C14 reliability is concerned - and it is the period when Neanderthals disappeared and modern humans emerged in their place. The question is why?

Lots on Neanderthals

For example, at there is a fascinating story about a Spanish cave that at some point during the Pleistocene became filled with soil, rocks, plant and animal remains and over time hardened into what is known as a breccia deposit. The breccia was found to be rich in fossils and Paleolithic artifacts and the deposit has been dated between 75,000 and 60,000 years ago.

Japanese lingual origins

An article in the New York Times (see ) reports on research into Japanese language origins, tracing it the arrival of wet rice farmer around 400BC via Korea. They are known as the Yayoi but the actual route of immigration is a bit of a puzzle as they would first have had to colonise the relatively cold climate of Korea before moving south into Japan.

Chinese Homo erectus and the Secrets of Pavilland Cave

At there is a posting on Peking Man, dated by a new methodology some 700,000 years ago and known from the cave system at Choukoutien in China (mentioned by Velikovsky). Related to Homo erectus, Peking Man appears to have adapted to cold Ice Age conditions, but these things are open to interpretation.

India and early human activity

At is a story about the discovery of stone tools in SE India that date back one million years ago - or longer (see Science March 25th 2011). Acheullian tools are usually associated with Homo erectus and on this evidence they were in South Asia not long after their appearance in East Africa. However, no fossil bones have been discovered so an argument might develop on what species of human was responsible.

Fire use in Prehistory

A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on March 14th has an interesting article on fire use by early humans - and is the result of extensive research and access to libraries and excavation reports across Europe and North America. Neanderthals appeared at around 400,000 years ago and they ranged over most of Europe as far as Central Asia as well as the Near and Middle East regions.

Going back to Pygmy and Bushmen origins?

At we learn that 'modern humans' may have originated in southern Africa according to a genetic study and a paper in PNAS. It seems that hunter gatherer populations such as the Bushmen possess a greater degree of genetic diversity than, shall we say, Bantu subsistence farmers, or cattle raising and herd based cultures. Why is this novel? - it was being said years ago (see Jean-Pierre Hallet, Pygmy Kitabu, Souvenir Press:1974).

Aurignacian mystery?

At ... most textbooks and internet sources such as Wikipedia or Britannica define the Aurignacians as the first Homo sapiens to enter Europe, appearing on the scene around 40,000 years ago. It is essentially a tool repertoire that is common to Europe and south west Asia.

Pastoralists in Africa

Redefining the entry into North Africa by pastoralists from Asia, via Sinai, Mathilda (at we find they migrated there some 8000 years ago. In other words, in the window after the 6200-6000BC event, the most severe of the Holocene climate glitches. In all likelihood the migration was driven by that event and there is every reason to think the Sahara has the same Semitic root as Sarah.

Proto-semitic languages

Another interesting article I picked up from Mathilda (see http://mathildasanthropologyblog/2010/05/16/bayesian-phylogenetic-analysing-of-semitic-languages-identifies-an-early-bronze-age-origin-of-semitic-in-the-near-east/ which may also interest SIS members - who were the semites and where did they come from?