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Tocharians weren't first: Early Tarim foragers and a western Kunlun route to Tibet

Tocharians weren’t first: Early Tarim foragers and a western Kunlun route to Tibet

The earliest well-dated archeological site in the hyper-arid Tarim Basin and its implications for prehistoric human migration and climatic change

WenXia Han, LuPeng Yu, ZhongPing Lai, David Madsene, & Shengli Yang (2014)

Quaternary Research 82(1): 66–72; doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2014.02.004

The routes and timing of human occupation of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) are crucial for understanding the evolution of Tibetan populations and associated paleoclimatic conditions. Many archeological sites have been found in/around the Tarim Basin,  … ⇒

Deer carried a Plasmodium malaria to the Americas

Deer carried a Plasmodium malaria to the Americas

Hidden in plain sight: Cryptic and endemic malaria parasites in North American white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Ellen S. Martinsen, Nancy McInerney, Heidi Brightman, Ken Ferebee, Tim Walsh, William J. McShea, Tavis D. Forrester, Lisa Ware, Priscilla H. Joyner, Susan L. Perkins, Emily K. Latch, Michael J. Yabsley, Joseph J. Schall and Robert C. Fleischer

Science Advances 05 Feb 2016: Vol.  … ⇒

Worse than useless

There are more downsides than wastefulness to having photoreceptors adapted for the surface when you dwell in subterranean darkness. Poly & Boucher (1996:191) catalogue some of the miseries of surface fish who’ve stumbled into the underworld:

A depigmented and unusual Semotilus atromaculatus has been collected from Lorenz Cave, Perry Co., Mo. (SIUC 23159). The snout was noticeably shorter, the mouth appeared almost subterminal (vs. terminal normally) and the isthmus was much wider in the hypogean S.  … ⇒

An Austronesian signature in mainland East Africa?

An Austronesian signature in mainland East Africa?

From the recent Busby et al. bioRxiv preprint “Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa” (14):

We infer direct admixture from Eurasian sources in two populations from Kenya, where specifically South Asian populations (GIH, KHV) are the most closely matched surrogates to the minor sources of admixture (Figure 5). Interestingly, the Chonyi (1138CE: 1080-1182CE) and Kauma (1225CE: 1167-1254CE) are located on the so-called Swahili Coast, a region where Medieval trade across the Indian Ocean is historically documented [Allen,  … ⇒

Doubtful nations

From a 1734 letter of Father Nau to Rev. Father Richard, from a collection of Nouvelle-France Jesuit correspondence (Gosselin 1914:324; my translation):

He [Father Aulneau] may next spring go on an expedition to the Western Sea, for the Court is absolutely keen on having more concerning it than just conjectures.

The French who this year returned from the upper country reported to us that the savages told them that, eleven hundred leagues from Quebec,  … ⇒

An Andamanese negrito in Victorian London

An Andamanese negrito in Victorian London

I have also often heard, though I am not aware on what original authority the statement rests, that an Andamanese has for many years been carrying on trade as a Tobacconist in London ; and that, as his story is not known there, he passes for a stunted African.

Rev. Henry Fisher Corbyn, Chaplain of Port Blair (6th Oct. 1863)

In: Portman, M.V. (1899). A history of our relations with the Andamanese.  … ⇒

The blood wireless

Skertchly, J.A. (1874). Dahomey as it is: Being a Narrative of Eight Months’ Residence in that Country, with a Full Account of the Notorious Annual Customs, and the Social and Religious Institutions of the Ffons; also an Appendix on Ashantee and a Glossary of Dahoman Words and Titles. London: Chapman & Hall.

One of the “notorious annual customs”:

The king’s strong names were then called out,  … ⇒