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    ABSTRACT: It has been argued recently that the initial dispersal of anatomically modern humans from Africa to southern Asia occurred before the volcanic "supereruption" of the Mount Toba volcano (Sumatra) at ∼74,000 y before present (B.P.)-possibly as early as 120,000 y B.P. We show here that this "pre-Toba" dispersal model is in serious conflict with both the most recent genetic evidence from both Africa and Asia and the archaeological evidence from South Asian sites. We present an alternative model based on a combination of genetic analyses and recent archaeological evidence from South Asia and Africa. These data support a coastally oriented dispersal of modern humans from eastern Africa to southern Asia ∼60-50 thousand years ago (ka). This was associated with distinctively African microlithic and "backed-segment" technologies analogous to the African "Howiesons Poort" and related technologies, together with a range of distinctively "modern" cultural and symbolic features (highly shaped bone tools, personal ornaments, abstract artistic motifs, microblade technology, etc.), similar to those that accompanied the replacement of "archaic" Neanderthal by anatomically modern human populations in other regions of western Eurasia at a broadly similar date.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

  • No preview · Article · May 2013 · Journal of Human Evolution
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates evidence for subsistence and settlement activities in the Levantine Middle Epi-palaeolithic through the application of stable isotope analysis to human and non-human remains from the site of 'Uyun al-Hammam, northern Jordan. In general, bone from the site suffers a high degree of diagenesis and collagen could not be extracted for analysis here. Carbon and oxygen isotopic values from human tooth enamel samples were variable, but within expected values for the Middle Epipalaeolithic, whereas animal carbon and oxygen isotopic values varied widely, most likely due to hydrological and climatological factors. Carbon and isotopic values for the human samples indicated a predominantly C 3 plant dietary input, while animal samples appeared to have varying amounts of C 4 inputs into their diet. This is the first isotopic analysis conducted on material from the Middle Epipalaeolithic of the southern Levant and, as such, even results constrained by temporal and climatological variants within the region contribute to the overall knowledge of settlement and subsistence strategies during this cultural period.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Journal of Archaeological Science
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