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Luc Doyon, Zhanyang Li, Hao Li, Francesco d'Errico
Most Chinese lithic industries dated between 300,000 and 40,000 are characterized by the absence of Levallois debitage, the persistence of core-and-flake knapping, the rarity of prepared cores, their reduction with direct hard hammer percussion, and the rarity of retouched flakes. Here we report the discovery of seven bone soft hammers at the early hominin Lingjing site (Xuchang County, Henan) dated to 125,000-105,000. These artefacts represent the first instance of the use of bone as raw material to modify stone tools found at an East Asian early Late Pleistocene site...
2018: PloS One
Ina Reiche, Claire Heckel, Katharina Müller, Olaf Jöris, Tim Matthies, Nicholas Conard, Harald Floss, Randall White
Among the earliest Homo sapiens societies in Eurasia, the Aurignacian phase of the Early Upper Palaeolithic, approximately 40,000-30,000 uncal. BP, mammoth ivory assumed great social and economic significance, and was used to create hundreds of personal ornaments as well as the earliest known works of three-dimensional figurative art in the world. This paper reports on the results of micro-PIXE/PIGE analyses of mammoth-ivory artefacts and debris from five major sites of Aurignacian ivory use. Patterns of variable F-content indicate regionally-distinct strategies of ivory procurement that correspond to apparent differences in human-mammoth interactions...
March 9, 2018: Angewandte Chemie
Thomas Wynn, John Gowlett
The Acheulean handaxe is one of the longest-known and longest-surviving artifacts of the Palaeolithic and, despite its experimentally tested functionality, is often regarded as puzzling. It is unnecessary to invoke a unique-for-mammals genetic mechanism to explain the handaxe phenomenon. Instead, we propose that two nongenetic processes are sufficient. The first is a set of ergonomic design principles linked to the production of sturdy, hand-held cutting tools in the context of a knapped-stone technology that lacked hafting...
January 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
Corey A O'Driscoll, Jessica C Thompson
The ability of Homo sapiens to kill prey at a distance is arguably one of the catalysts for our current ecological dominance. Many researchers have suggested its origins lie in the African Middle Stone Age or the European Middle Palaeolithic (∼300-30 thousand years ago), but the perishable components of armatures rarely preserve. Most research on this subject therefore emphasises analysis of armature tip size, shape, and diagnostic impacts or residues. Other lines of evidence have included human skeletal anatomy or analyses of the species composition of faunal assemblages...
January 2018: Evolutionary Anthropology
P L Gibbard, R G West, P D Hughes
Detailed investigation of landforms and their underlying deposits on the eastern margin of Fenland, East Anglia, demonstrated that they represent a series of glaciofluvial delta-fan and related sediments. Associated with these deposits are glacially dislocated sediments including tills, meltwater and pre-existing fluvial sediments. These 'Skertchly Line' deposits occur in the context of a substantial ice lobe that entered Fenland from the N to NE, dammed the streams entering the basin and caused glacial lakes to form in the valleys on the margins...
January 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Kumar Akhilesh, Shanti Pappu, Haresh M Rajapara, Yanni Gunnell, Anil D Shukla, Ashok K Singhvi
Luminescence dating at the stratified prehistoric site of Attirampakkam, India, has shown that processes signifying the end of the Acheulian culture and the emergence of a Middle Palaeolithic culture occurred at 385 ± 64 thousand years ago (ka), much earlier than conventionally presumed for South Asia. The Middle Palaeolithic continued at Attirampakkam until 172 ± 41 ka. Chronologies of Middle Palaeolithic technologies in regions distant from Africa and Europe are crucial for testing theories about the origins and early evolution of these cultures, and for understanding their association with modern humans or archaic hominins, their links with preceding Acheulian cultures and the spread of Levallois lithic technologies...
January 31, 2018: Nature
Nizar Ben Halim, Sana Hsouna, Khaled Lasram, Mariem Chargui, Laaroussi Khemira, Rachid Saidane, Sonia Abdelhak, Rym Kefi
BACKGROUND: Douiret is an isolated Berber population from South-Eastern Tunisia. The strong geographic and cultural isolation characterising this population might have contributed to remarkable endogamy and consanguinity, which were practiced for several centuries. AIM: The objective of this study is to evaluate the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetic structure of Douiret and to compare it to other Mediterranean populations with a special focus on major haplogroup T...
February 2018: Annals of Human Biology
Neus Font-Porterias, Neus Solé-Morata, Gerard Serra-Vidal, Asmahan Bekada, Karima Fadhlaoui-Zid, Pierre Zalloua, Francesc Calafell, David Comas
BACKGROUND: The genetic composition of human North African populations is an amalgam of different ancestral components coming from the Middle East, Europe, south-Saharan Africa and autochthonous to North Africa. This complex genetic pattern is the result of migrations and admixtures in the region since Palaeolithic times. AIMS: The objective of the present study is to refine knowledge of the population history of North African populations through the analysis of complete mitochondrial sequences...
February 2018: Annals of Human Biology
Flavio De Angelis, Gabriele Scorrano, Cristina Martínez-Labarga, Giuseppina Scano, Fabio Macciardi, Olga Rickards
CONTEXT: The Mediterranean area has always played a significant role in human dispersal due to the large number of migratory events contributing to shape the cultural features and the genetic pool of its populations. OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to review and diachronically describe the mitogenome variability in the Mediterranean population and the main demic diffusions that occurred in this area over time. METHODS: Frequency distributions of the leading mitochondrial haplogroups have been geographically and chronologically evaluated...
February 2018: Annals of Human Biology
Lukas Schwingshackl, Anna Chaimani, Georg Hoffmann, Carolina Schwedhelm, Heiner Boeing
The aim of the present study is to assess the comparative efficacy of different dietary approaches on glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus using a systematic review of the literature. Electronic and hand searches were performed until July 2017. The inclusion criteria were defined as follows: (1) randomized trial with a dietary approach; (2) adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus; (3) outcome either HbA1c (%) and/or fasting glucose (mmol/l); (4) minimum intervention period of 12 weeks. For each outcome measure, random effects network meta-analysis was performed in order to determine the pooled effect of each intervention relative to each of the other interventions...
January 4, 2018: European Journal of Epidemiology
Alice Leplongeon
During the Nubia Salvage Campaign and the subsequent expeditions from the 1960's to the 1980's, numerous sites attributed to the Late Palaeolithic (~25-15 ka) were found in the Nile Valley, particularly in Nubia and Upper Egypt. This region is one of the few to have allowed human occupations during the dry Marine Isotope Stage 2 and is therefore key to understanding how human populations adapted to environmental changes at this time. This paper focuses on two sites located in Upper Egypt, excavated by the Combined Prehistoric Expedition: E71K18, attributed to the Afian industry and E71K20, attributed to the Silsilian industry...
2017: PloS One
Tobias Richter, Amaia Arranz-Otaegui, Lisa Yeomans, Elisabetta Boaretto
The Late Epipalaeolithic Natufian (~14,600 - 11,500 cal BP) is a key period in the prehistory of southwest Asia. Often described as a complex hunting and gathering society with increased sedentism, intensive plant exploitation and associated with an increase in artistic and symbolic material culture, it is positioned between the earlier Upper- and Epi-Palaeolithic and the early Neolithic, when plant cultivation and subsequently animal domestication began. The Natufian has thus often been seen as a necessary pre-adaptation for the emergence of Neolithic economies in southwest Asia...
December 5, 2017: Scientific Reports
John Onians
This paper considers several types of imagination relevant to art historical enquiry. These are exemplified in artistic expressions ranging from palaeolithic paintings in the Chauvet Cave, to drawings, sculptures and buildings designed by Michelangelo and drawings and paintings by Leonardo, and are related to recent neuroscientific discoveries. From this it emerges that important types of imagination cannot be understood without an appreciation of the neural processes that underlie them and especially without an acknowledgement of the importance of neurochemistry...
October 23, 2017: Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior
Barbara Cvitkušić
Archaeological finds of personal ornaments reveal not only behavioural patterns of the society they belong to, but also their forms of manifestations indicate connections, contacts and communication paths, exchange networks and movements of prehistoric populations. This paper advances the current knowledge regarding ornamental traditions in Eastern Adriatic area during Late Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. Thirteen prehistoric sites from this area have yielded more than thousand finds of ornamental assemblage, making Eastern Adriatic coast and hinterland fruitful area for the research of this type of archaeological assemblage...
March 2017: Collegium Antropologicum
Cristiana Margherita, Gregorio Oxilia, Veronica Barbi, Daniele Panetta, Jean-Jacques Hublin, David Lordkipanidze, Tengiz Meshveliani, Nino Jakeli, Zinovi Matskevich, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Anna Belfer-Cohen, Ron Pinhasi, Stefano Benazzi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2017: Journal of Human Evolution
Kathryn E Fitzsimmons, Radu Iovita, Tobias Sprafke, Michelle Glantz, Sahra Talamo, Katharine Horton, Tyler Beeton, Saya Alipova, Galymzhan Bekseitov, Yerbolat Ospanov, Jean-Marc Deom, Renato Sala, Zhaken Taimagambetov
Central Asia has delivered significant paleoanthropological discoveries in the past few years. New genetic data indicate that at least two archaic human species met and interbred with anatomically modern humans as they arrived into northern Central Asia. However, data are limited: known archaeological sites with lithic assemblages generally lack human fossils, and consequently identifying the archaeological signatures of different human groups, and the timing of their occupation, remains elusive. Reliable chronologic data from sites in the region, crucial to our understanding of the timing and duration of interactions between different human species, are rare...
December 2017: Journal of Human Evolution
Joe Yuichiro Wakano, William Gilpin, Seiji Kadowaki, Marcus W Feldman, Kenichi Aoki
Recent archaeological records no longer support a simple dichotomous characterization of the cultures/behaviors of Neanderthals and modern humans, but indicate much cultural/behavioral variability over time and space. Thus, in modeling the replacement or assimilation of Neanderthals by modern humans, it is of interest to consider cultural dynamics and its relation to demographic change. The ecocultural framework for the competition between hominid species allows their carrying capacities to depend on some measure of the levels of culture they possess...
October 12, 2017: Theoretical Population Biology
João Pimenta, Alexandra M Lopes, David Comas, António Amorim, Miguel Arenas
During the Neolithic, human populations underwent cultural and technological developments that led to an agricultural revolution. Although the population genetics and evolution of European Neolithic populations have been extensively studied, little is known regarding the Neolithic expansion in North Africa with respect to Europe. One could expect that the different environmental and geological conditions at both shores of the Mediterranean Sea could have led to contrasting expansions. In order to test this hypothesis, we compared the Neolithic expansion in Europe and North Africa accounting for possible migration between them through the Strait of Gibraltar...
December 1, 2017: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Bruno Fazenda, Chris Scarre, Rupert Till, Raquel Jiménez Pasalodos, Manuel Rojo Guerra, Cristina Tejedor, Roberto Ontañón Peredo, Aaron Watson, Simon Wyatt, Carlos García Benito, Helen Drinkall, Frederick Foulds
During the 1980 s, acoustic studies of Upper Palaeolithic imagery in French caves-using the technology then available-suggested a relationship between acoustic response and the location of visual motifs. This paper presents an investigation, using modern acoustic measurement techniques, into such relationships within the caves of La Garma, Las Chimeneas, La Pasiega, El Castillo, and Tito Bustillo in Northern Spain. It addresses methodological issues concerning acoustic measurement at enclosed archaeological sites and outlines a general framework for extraction of acoustic features that may be used to support archaeological hypotheses...
September 2017: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
P R B Kozowyk, M Soressi, D Pomstra, G H J Langejans
The destructive distillation of birch bark to produce tar has recently featured in debates about the technological and cognitive abilities of Neandertals and modern humans. The abilities to precisely control fire temperatures and to manipulate adhesive properties are believed to require advanced mental traits. However, the significance given to adhesive technology in these debates has quickly outgrown our understanding of birch bark tar and its manufacture using aceramic techniques. In this paper, we detail three experimental methods of Palaeolithic tar production ranging from simple to complex...
August 31, 2017: Scientific Reports
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