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Jomon, Neanderthals and Mesolithic

16 May 2019

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/05/dna-study-jomon-woma… … a Japanese DNA study on the bones of a Jomon woman on an island north of Hokkaido has found a genetic signature in common with Koreans, Filipinos, and the indigenous inhabitants of Taiwan. However, she also showed a genetic ability to eat a high fat diet which she shares with people of the Arctic north, including Inuit. Marine mammals are very fatty and numerous bones of them have been found in Jomon contexts. In addition, the Jomon people are famous for making and using pottery as far back as 13,000 years ago, and it has even been suggested they were using pottery earlier than this. However, the Jomon had a hunting and fishing lifestyle – feeding mainly from the ocean around Japan. They maintained this lifestyle until the advent of farming in the mid first millennium BC. The farmers came by way of Korea from China.

At https://phys.org/news/2019-05-neanderthals-modern-humans-diverged-years…. … Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern humans are now being said to have diverged 800,000 years ago, according to a new study published in Science Advances (May 2019). It analysed DNA in dental material across various human groups with an emphasis on early Neanderthals. Teeth from hominims in Spain, said to be ancestors of the Neanderthals, changfed at 800,000 years ago – hence the findings (in a nutshell).

At https://phys.org/news/2019-05-oldest-scandinavian-human-dna-ancient.html … the first humans who settled Scandinavia after the Ice Age left their DNA behind in chewing gum – masticated lumps of birch bark pitch. See Communications Biology of May 2019. It came from an early Mesolithic hunting camp on the Swedish west coast. The birch bark pitch, or tar, was chewed and used as a glue in tool production – fixing microliths to wooden shafts for example. The DNA showed they shared a common ancestry with other Mesolithic hunters from post Ice Age northern and central Europe. The tools, in addition, show a link with people on the East European plain (modern Russia) which seems to show admixture between the two groups. Hence, there was an influx of people from two directions in the early Holocene/ late Pleistocene.

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