|Fig. 2 has the essence of the paper|
Monthly Archives: June 2011
Barbara Purdy et al., Earliest Art in the Americas: Incised Image of a Proboscidean on a Mineralized Extinct Animal Bone from Vero Beach, Florida. Journal of Archaeological Science, 2011. Pay per view.
[DOI is broken so link above is direct]
AbstractA fragmented fossil bone incised with the figure of a proboscidean was recently found at Vero Beach, Florida near the location where Late Pleistocene fauna and human bones were recovered from 1913–1916. This engraving may represent the oldest and only existing example of Terminal Pleistocene art depicting a proboscidean in the Americas. Because of the uniqueness, rarity, and potential antiquity of this specimen, caution demanded that a variety of tests be used in anattempt to verify its authenticity. The mineralized bone was identified as mammoth, mastodon, or giant sloth. Rare earth element analysis was consistent with the fossil bone being ancient and originating at or near the Old Vero site (8-IR-9). Forensic analysis suggests the markings on the bone are not recent. Optical microscopy results show no discontinuity in coloration between the carved grooves and the surrounding material indicating that both surfaces aged simultaneously. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed that the edges of the inscription are worn and show no signs of being incised recently or that the grooves were made with metal tools.In addition, the backscattered SEM images suggest there is no discontinuity in the distribution of light and heavy elements between the scribed region and the surrounding bone indicating that both surfaces aged in the same environment. This is very different from an intentional mark made on the bone for comparison. Energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDXS) shows that the surface contains significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus, oxygen, and carbon typical of a mineralized bone surface. Examination of a cast and mold of the incised bone by Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) also provided no evidence that the engraving was made recently. All of these results are consistent with the mammoth engraving being authentic.
I also found an available PDF (not sure how long it will stay open).
The bone itself may be one of a mammoth, though being mineralized (true fossil) we can’t expect to get DNA nor C-14 dates:
It definitely derived from a much larger land mammal than any known to have been alive in Florida during the Precolumbian Holocene interval (e.g., bear, bison, deer), and the great thickness of the cortical bone precludes a cetacean origin. Because the bone is mineralized, it is improbable that it can be identified by DNA analysis or dated by 14C. This is usually the case for Late Pleistocene fossils from Florida (e.g., Hulbert et al. 2009).
A reader points me to this paper (in Spanish with introduction in Basque):
Regarding U5b, a particular sublineage U5b1f is mentioned as being notably frequent among Basques and also found in other sub-Pyrenean populations (Crespillo et al. 2000; Martínez-Jarreta et al. 2000; Alfonso-Sánchez et al. 2008).
The highest apportion of U5b worldwide is in Northern Navarre (15.5%).
[Update: in the comments section, Heraus, who has deep Bearnois roots, confirms my hypothesis: U5b1b may not be found among Basques but it’s found for sure among Gascons. Himself is this particular lineage].
|Franco-Cantabrian province: dots indicate rock art sites, white areas are glaciers, light green is land now submerged|
Update (June 22):
U5b frequencies by Argiedude (synthesis of many diverse papers):
|Click to enlarge. Figures in percentile points.|
See the discussion for details. Importantly he argues that he is working in a diversity map but that preliminary data appears to show that U5b in SW Europe is more diverse than in Fenno-Scandia (I’d be surprised if it’d be the other way around, honestly, because this region was covered in ice until some 10,000 year ago).
Update (June 29): Argiedude has also worked out this map of U5b diversity (see comments):
Not sure what conclusions may be reached, if any.
|Stratigraphic sequence of Buran Kaya III|
|Artistic recreation of Bouchra (right)|
|HLA-A11: the legacy of H. erectus in ourselves|
Prof. Peter Parham (Stanford University, USA) has found that some of the most common immunologic alleles among non-African modern humans have been adopted from other species of Homo living in Eurasia upon the migration out of Africa.
One allele, HLA-C*0702, is common in modern Europeans and Asians but never seen in Africans; Parham found it in the Neanderthal genome, suggesting it made its way into H. sapiens of non-African descent through interbreeding. HLA-A*11 had a similar story: it is mostly found in Asians and never in Africans, and Parham found it in the Denisovan genome, again suggesting its source was interbreeding outside of Africa.
Half of European HLA-A alleles come from other hominins, says Parham, and that figure rises to 72 per cent for people in China, and over 90 per cent for those in Papua New Guinea.
News found thanks to Neanderfollia[cat].
See also in this blog:
- Denisova hominins, Neanderthals, Melanesians and so on…
- Explaining ‘Denisovan’ and also ‘Neanderthal’ admixture: the simplest scenario.
- Age estimates, which are high risk slippery terrain.
- Insufficient resolution of the genetics of the archaic hominin genomes.
Important Update (Jun 18): the “Neanderthal” allele probably Sapiens, the “Denisovan” one may stand:
Hawks (same post, updated or did I miss it in first read?) directs us to a database of allele frequencies through the World, which would seem a most useful reference site. There we get clear evidence that the “Neanderthal” allele HLA*C:0702 probably migrated with our ancestors from Africa and needs no introgression explanation at all. The allele is frequent enough in many African populations peaking among the Baka Pygmies with 15%.
More complicated is the case of the allegedly Denisovan (Erectus) alleles HLA*A11. A look at the database is very clear: no native African population (south of the Sahara) has it at all except the creole ones of Cape Verde and Sao Tome (where it has without doubt recent European origin) and, crucially, a sample from Kampala, Uganda, where it reaches 4.3%.
This sample one is the only one that could suggest an African origin for this set of haplotypes. It could be argued however that as some genetic back-flow from Asia exists in the area, this case is explained by genetic back-flow. However the apportion is rather high, almost as high as Moroccan Berbers, Italians or Macedonians. Even the largest possible Asian source (Omanis: 11.4%) does not seem to be large enough to justify this island of HLA*A11 in Kampala.
Additionally the Nilotic Nandi of nearby Kenya are reported to have 0% of the controversial alleles. It is really hard to explain how this island of HLA*A11 arose in Kampala. But on the other hand, the fact that it is such an isolated finding is equally suspicious: if the allele (essentially HLA*A11:01) was so old in Africa, we should expect it to be found at least a very low frequencies in other populations.
Fine that malaria or other tropical diseases may have played a contrary selective role, as Hawks argues, but still the allele could, should, have survived in populations not affected by this disease. Also Uganda is not less Malaria-prone than Kenya (or most other nearby countries). So this explanation is not satisfactory.
A very localized founder effect of Asian origin (or a reporting error maybe) would seem to be at the origin of this anomaly. Also no African presence of variants 02, 03 or 04 has ever been reported.
Of course, we must always await for further data and research, but on the grounds of what we have now, I would say that:
- Claim 1: HLA*C0702 is a Neanderthal introgressed allele. Busted!
- Claim 2: HLA*A11 (several alleles) is a Denisovan (Erectus probably) introgressed allele. Plausible (but watch that Kampala island in Africa).
Update (Aug 26):
The reference paper is:
Laurent Abi-Rached et al., The Shaping of Modern Human Immune Systems by Multiregional Admixture with Archaic Humans. Science, 2011. Pay per view.
The supplementary material however is freely available.