The "basketball hypothesis" of Indo-Europeanization

The "basketball hypothesis" of Indo-Europeanization

Image by Archaeology of Kuban, via La Gran Época.

New archaeological findings (see also this interview) from Kuban, north of the Caucasus and east of the Sea of Azov, 4500 BP:

The height of these four prehistoric inhabitants of Krasnodar was recorded as 2.1m (~6’11”) for the men and 1.97m (~6’6″) for the women.

The Novotitarovskaya Culture is classified as a relative of Yamnaya or component of the Yamnaya horizon.  … ⇒

Unadmixed Polynesians in the interior of 18th century Brazil

Unadmixed Polynesians in the interior of 18th century Brazil

Malaspinas et al. 2014, Fig. 1. “18th century” is a conservative end range: The 95% HPDs of the marine corrected dates are 1479–1708 AD and 1730–1804 AD for Bot15, and 1496–1842 AD for Bot17.

Follow-up to a bizarre mtDNA finding from 2013: 2 of 14 skulls in the Botocudo collection of The Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found to have seemingly Austronesian mtDNA haplogroups while the remainder exhibited the typically Native American hg C1.  … ⇒

Kon-Tiki redux!

Genome-wide Ancestry Patterns in Rapanui Suggest Pre-European Admixture with Native Americans

J. Victor Moreno-Mayar, Simon Rasmussen, Andaine Seguin-Orlando, Morten Rasmussen, Mason Liang, Siri Tennebø Flam,Benedicte Alexandra Lie, Gregor Duncan Gilfillan, Rasmus Nielsen, Erik Thorsby, Eske Willerslev, & Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas (2014)

Current Biology 24: 1–8.

• We genotyped and analyzed 650,000 SNP markers for 27 native Rapanui
• Rapanui bear Polynesian (∼76%),  … ⇒

Five thousand year genomic time transect through the Alföld

Five thousand year genomic time transect through the Alföld

Quick remarks (updated 2014.10.23 & 2014.10.27):

(1) Pinhasi makes an impressive case for preferentially targeting the very dense and presumably well-sheltered petrous pyramid of the temporal bone for ancient DNA extraction.

(2) All (four) of the Early and Middle Neolithic males in this study were found to have characteristically hunter-gatherer Y hgs (I2a & C6, which you may remember from Mesolithic La Braña)! Male-biased incorporation of local hunter-gatherers? Very much not what you’d anticipate from the German and Iberian Neolithic series.  … ⇒

A residual Tungusic minority in North Korea

The two Koreas today easily rank among the most ethnolinguistically homogeneous countries in the world. Archaeological and early literary records on the one hand and recent migration and marriage trends in the ROK on the other (coupled with intensifying state and corporate support for multiculturalism) suggest that this was not a primeval constant of the peninsula, nor is it a simple given of its near future.

What may come as a bigger surprise is that the “foreign” population of the modern DPRK consists of more than businessmen and diplomats with a sprinkling of ill-fated abductees and showpiece defectors — there in fact exist persistent albeit tiny communities of “native aliens” with centuries of continuous non-Korean self-conception.  … ⇒

Red foxes out of the Middle East and twice into America

Range-wide multilocus phylogeography of the red fox reveals ancient continental divergence, minimal genomic exchange and distinct demographic histories

Mark J. Statham, James Murdoch, Jan Janecka, Keith B. Aubry, Ceiridwen J. Edwards, Carl D. Soulsbury, Oliver Berry, Zhenghuan Wang, David Harrison, Malcolm Pearch, Louise Tomsett, Judith Chupasko, & Benjamin N. Sacks

Molecular Ecology 23(19): 4813–4830; Article first published online: 25 SEP 2014; DOI: 10.1111/mec.12898

Widely distributed taxa provide an opportunity to compare biogeographic responses to climatic fluctuations on multiple continents and to investigate speciation.  … ⇒

Earliest figurative cave art from Wallacea

Pleistocene cave art from Sulawesi, Indonesia

M. Aubert, A. Brumm, M. Ramli, T. Sutikna, E. W. Saptomo, B. Hakim, M. J. Morwood, G. D. van den Bergh, L. Kinsley & A. Dosseto
Nature 514, 223–227 (09 October 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13422

Archaeologists have long been puzzled by the appearance in Europe ~40–35 thousand years (kyr) ago of a rich corpus of sophisticated artworks, including parietal art (that is,  … ⇒

Phyloproteomics at mega-annum time depth?

Phyloproteomics at mega-annum time depth?

Macrauchenia reconstruction by Kobrina Olga.

Courtesy of Lars Dietz and Darren Naish: two presentations on collagen sequencing of extinct Pleistocene South American ungulates from the 4th International Palaeontological Congress in Mendoza, Argentina (September 28–October 3, 2014). Abstract book here (be warned, it’s 934 pages long).

The horizon expands.


Michael Buckley1,  … ⇒

Rapid taxonomic screening of morphologically nondiagnostic bone fragments

ZooMS (Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry) has patent relevance to ancient DNA research strategy. As related to me, the procedure is reassuringly nondestructive and both fast and specific enough (though don’t imagine Neanderthal vs. modern human-level resolution) that this really ought to become a standard practice for sorting assorted ambiguous bone elements from such sites as Denisova Cave.

I’ve heard, actually, that there was considerable initial disbelief in the primate identity of the strange taurodont Denisovan molar (no one wants a repeat of “Hesperopithecus“,  … ⇒