I’m looking forward to the 82nd annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (Vancouver, BC, Canada: March 29–April 2, 2017) at the end of this month, which will be my first SAA.
This is a sprawling conference. I’ve spent a long while going through the entries and have highlighted some abstracts of special interest below — I’ll feature things that caught my eye from other domains of archaeology and non-human aDNA/proteome work in later posts. … ⇒
Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14115 (2017)
Douglas J. Kennett, Stephen Plog, Richard J. George, Brendan J. Culleton, Adam S. Watson, Pontus Skoglund, Nadin Rohland, Swapan Mallick, Kristin Stewardson, Logan Kistler, Steven A. LeBlanc, Peter M. Whiteley, David Reich & George H. Perry
For societies with writing systems, hereditary leadership is documented as one of the hallmarks of early political complexity and governance. … ⇒
Y-DNA supports population discontinuity between Early Neolithic & Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age in Cis-Baikal
The study of Ancient DNA (aDNA), DNA recovered from archaeological and historic post mortem material, has complemented the study of anthropology and archaeology. There are several challenges in the retrieval and analysis of DNA from ancient specimens including exogenous contamination with modern DNA, … ⇒
Sankararaman, S., Mallick, S., Patterson, N., & Reich, D. (2016). The Combined Landscape of Denisovan and Neanderthal Ancestry in Present-Day Humans. Current Biology, 26:1–7. [In Press Corrected Proof, online 28 Mar 2016: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.03.037]
Some present-day humans derive up to ∼5% [ 1 ] of their ancestry from archaic Denisovans, an even larger proportion than the ∼2% from Neanderthals [ 2 ]. We developed methods that can disambiguate the locations of segments of Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestry in present-day humans and applied them to 257 high-coverage genomes from 120 diverse populations, … ⇒
EDIT February 09, 2016: A convincing rebuttal from researchers at MPI Leipzig & Tübingen in eLife: Weiß et al. 2015.
EDIT May 26, 2015: I’m much more dubious of this claim upon closer reading and some discussions with colleagues. Look at the damage profiles and the number of reads mapping to wheat.
Oliver Smith, … ⇒
Peter B. Damgaard, Ashot Margaryan, Hannes Schroeder, Ludovic Orlando, Eske Willerslev, Morten E. Allentoft
February 6, 2015; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/014985
Poor DNA preservation is the most limiting factor in ancient genomic research. In the vast majority of ancient bones and teeth, endogenous DNA molecules only represent a minor fraction of the whole DNA extract, rendering traditional shot-gun sequencing approaches cost-ineffective for whole-genome characterization. … ⇒
From Matisoo-Smith, E. (2015). Ancient DNA and the human settlement of the Pacific: A review. Journal of Human Evolution (in press, corrected proof). doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.10.017:
During searches of museum collections to attempt to find other commensal animal bones, we encountered archaeological collections of human remains from Isla Mocha, a small island located approximately 30 km off the coast of south central Chile, about 100 km south of the site of El Arenal. … ⇒
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. … ⇒
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. … ⇒
Pardiñas et al. argue in a new article that their recognition of an apparently Iberia-specific sublineage of mtDNA haplogroup L3f in modern Asturians is the legacy of an early Neolithic (if not earlier!) northward crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar. I have my doubts, but it speaks to scenarios that ought to remain under serious consideration.