February 2, 2012

Echoes from the Past (Feb 2)

Lots of links that I think of interest but I do not have time, knowledge or enough discipline to deal with in greater detail.

Truly sorry about the format (or lack of it); I'm drowning in information.


Middle Paleolithic



Levallois core and flake (replica)
Neanderthal-made rock art?


Upper Paleolithic & Epipaleolithic

El joven de la cueva del Mirón fue enterrado hace 18.500 años[es] (the young man of El Mirón cave, Asturias, was buried 18,500 years ago)

Una sentencia da la razón a Zeleta S.L. y pone en peligro a Praileaitz[es] (tribunal puts Praileaitz cave, Basque Country, at even more risk)


Neolithic & Chalcolithic



Russian fish trap findings

Diversidad LBK y relaciones entre Neolíticos y Cazadores-Recolectores[es] (LBK diversity and relationships between Neolithic and hunter-gathererer peoples).

Modelos generales del Neolítico versus datos arqueológicos[es] (general modeling of Neolithic versus actual archaeological data)








Metal Ages and History
 
Malta inscription

«Tartessos no era un pueblo de catetos. Eran sensibles y técnicamente capacitados»[es] (Tartessos was not a redneck people: they were sensible and technically capable - there's been some Tartessos conference these days in Andalusia, with nothing new).

Aparecen en Liédena los restos de un poblado de la transición entre la Edad de Bronce y la de Hierro[es] (settlement from the Bronze-Iron ages' transition discovered in Liedena, Navarre)


Excavation of Bosnian Sun Pyramid given green light (remember the Bosnian "pyramid"? - it is back!)


Human genetics and evolution



Fig. 2 - PCA (BAM stands for Bamileke)




Master controller of memory identified (this is kind of scary: they wiped out memories in mice!)

Study Reveals Possible New Key to Human Evolution (synapsis making in early childhood allows for extreme learning)


Bonobos' unusual success story (like humans bonobo males are more successful at mating with relatively low testosterone levels).



Other




20 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link Maju! A lot of interesting news!! As you know, i am very interested in the neanderthal behavior, and i am very glad for the posibility that the dates of the nerja rock art (some of them) could be drawing by neanderthals. If the dates are right (we need to wait) i think we have only two different scenarios:

    1. the paintings was made by neanderthals
    2. sapiens arrives to europe via gibraltar, but it is very strange because neanderthals live in the area from gibraltar to malaga 40.000 years ago.

    Regards and sorry for my english. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just added yet another link from Pileta explaining that the carbon dates were made on charcoal from the same room where the paintings are, so they believe they are related.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As you know I think that the most parsimonious explanation is Neanderthal authorship. However it'd be nice if the paintings could be dated directly, for example by means of the depositional layers of calcium carbonate (as has been done in the North).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Are you sure the Neandertals knew how to paint maju? Personally, I had always envisioned them as buffoons, capable of pretty much Eating, Defecating and Sleeping only, but then again I don't know much at all about them, or studied them deep enough. Did they even know how to talk?

    Wikipedia says: "They made advanced tools,[48] had a language (the nature of which is debated) and lived in complex social groups."

    ReplyDelete
  5. As Hs teeth accurately dated to more than 40kya have been found in Kent's cavern (England) and Grotta del Cavallo (Italy), I am not sure why the age of this art excludes an Hs artist.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Personally, I had always envisioned them as buffoons, capable of pretty much Eating, Defecating and Sleeping only"

    Not what the link Maju posted ('Why Levallois? A Morphometric Comparison of Experimental preferential Levallois Flakes versus Debitage Flakes')
    says:

    "Our results are, therefore, consistent with recent evidence (e.g. [67], [68]) suggesting that cognitive capacities in different species of Middle-Late Pleistocene hominins are not as sharply differentiated as previous generations of scholars postulated, and that the behavioural changes that eventually emerge during the Later Stone Age (African LSA) and Upper Palaeolithic may be more the product of demographic change and increased connectivity of social networks [69] than they were, necessarily, of fundamental cognitive changes"

    Yet again we see that the difference between 'archaic' and 'modern' has little to do with cognitive ability. And regarding:

    "New Genetic Research Suggests Link Between Earliest Native Americans and Southern Siberia"

    Didn't we already know that? And regarding 'Following genetic footprints out of Africa: First modern humans settled in Arabia':

    "We have addressed this question by analyzing the three minor west-Eurasian haplogroups, N1, N2, and X. These lineages branch directly from the first non-African founder node, the root of haplogroup N, and coalesce to the time of the first successful movement of modern humans out of Africa, 60 thousand years (ka) ago. We sequenced complete mtDNA genomes from 85 Southwest Asian samples carrying these haplogroups and compared them with a database of 300 European examples. The results show that these minor haplogroups have a relict distribution that suggests an ancient ancestry within the Arabian Peninsula, and they most likely spread from the Gulf Oasis region toward the Near East and Europe during the pluvial period 5524 ka ago. This pattern suggests that Arabia was indeed the first staging post in the spread of modern humans around the world".

    So what happened to the SE Asian origin of those haplogroups? And isn't that pretty much what I've been trying to tell you for ages? Although I doubt the paper presents evidence that the relevant haplogroups entered Arabia via the Horn. The period the haplogroups spent before they 'spread from the Gulf Oasis region' presumably is the explanation for N's stem.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Yet again we see that the difference between 'archaic' and 'modern' has little to do with cognitive ability."

    I see, I remain kind of sceptical on these studies asserting 'modernism' in the Neandertals, I am specifically talking about the studies that came and are coming out after the bomb-shell of OOA breeding with neandertals dropped, I feel that the scientists may, whether consciously or subconsciously, want to 'prop up' their (2.5% or so) ancestors.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @joy
    ""As Hs teeth accurately dated to more than 40kya have been found in Kent's cavern (England) and Grotta del Cavallo (Italy), I am not sure why the age of this art excludes an Hs artist.""

    If we admit that sapiens was made paintings in nerja cave we need to admit that the europe colonization was made by the southern route via gibraltar. And we have a problem, because Neanderthals live in a big area from Gibraltar to Malaga 40.000 years ago; we have in malaga and in andalucia a lot of mousterian settlements for this date, and we do not have any sapiens or aurignacian settlements 40.000 years ago in the south of iberian peninsula.

    If the dates are right, i think the better option is neandertal rock art.

    @Etyopis

    ""Personally, I had always envisioned them as buffoons, capable of pretty much Eating, Defecating and Sleeping only""

    This is a vision of the 70`s; now the vision is different, Neanderthals are humans like us.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Are you sure the Neandertals knew how to paint maju?"

    The data is there and seems so far unquestionable. I see no reason why Neanderthals who had a brain at least as large as ours (and probably a very developed visual cortex, IMO) could not paint.

    I think of Neanderthals as not quite but very much like ourselves, more distinct in body proportions than in intellectual capacities.

    I've always considered that the ideas on "modern behavior" are a bit fetishist (and possibly religious) and not realistic. There are gorillas (see also Koko's world and this video) and elephants that paint... it's not that difficult to feel the joy of artistic expression. Another thing is maybe having the very dexterous hand of a true artist... but as I'm an ass drawing, I hope that humanity is not judged only by that skill (definitely that elephant paints much better than I ever could).

    However the true matter is the evidence and the evidence is that charcoal from the same room, which is a very remote area of the cave, is dated before 40 Ka. Direct dating of the drawings or their surface is apparently awaiting for budget (so I have been told).

    "Did they even know how to talk?"

    With all likelihood yes. Even, I'd say, H. erectus/ergaster, which was quite less brainy must have been anyhow essentially human in all. Just less bright (although the matter of body fur is open it should not be the measure of humanity).

    Neanderthals had brains perfectly comparable to ours. However the shape of their skull was different, having very low vaults and instead a extreme dolicocephaly for our standards, which has brought the occasional speculation on whether their brains might be somewhat differently organized than ours (a classical idea is that they had excellent observation skills but were poor at creating, but there's no evidence supporting it).

    Nearby Neanderthals from Murcia (c. 50 Ka.) were using ochre and decorative shells about the same time (and also within a context of Mousterian technology). This is something that was only known a few years ago also.

    We are learning a lot about Neanderthals... and ourselves. I think that the idea that any non-sapiens is barely an animal (although many animals are surprisingly intelligent and sensible) is rooted in traditional Neolithic visions of animals as mere resources which we declare (for our convenience) devoid of intelligence and hence of soul (Psyche in greek means both: mind and soul). All that is sacralized for many religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha'ism, Mormonism, etc.) in the Genesis narration by which Yaveh supposedly creates the World for the people who are made to his divine image.

    That vision does not stand: intelligence is much more generalized among animals, specially some mammals. And even if we are outstanding in that skill, it seems, Neanderthals and other Homo sp. were probably quite close to our abilities (Neanderthals very specially with their huge brains and now demonstrated symbolic expression capacity).

    ReplyDelete
  10. "And regarding 'Following genetic footprints out of Africa: First modern humans settled in Arabia'".

    It's pay per view, Terry. I cannot discuss unless I get a copy first. I'm not going to debate when I do not know the details of their (possibly flawed) reasoning, right?

    ReplyDelete
  11. "As Hs teeth accurately dated to more than 40kya have been found in Kent's cavern (England) and Grotta del Cavallo (Italy), I am not sure why the age of this art excludes an Hs [Homo sapiens] artist".

    There are scholars, like Zilhao, who question these dates as forced, almost made up. But anyhow we are in a context of Mousterian until after c. 30 Ka. when the first Aurignacian coyly arrives to the area. Mousterian with undisputed Neanderthal remains in Gibraltar and Zafarraya.

    If the dates are confirmed, this would undeniably be Neanderthal-made. However there is still some chance that the paintings are younger than the Charcoal remains.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "I cannot discuss unless I get a copy first. I'm not going to debate when I do not know the details of their (possibly flawed) reasoning, right?"

    Possibly flawed, but surely we can take the abstract at face value for now.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "I cannot discuss unless I get a copy first. I'm not going to debate when I do not know the details of their (possibly flawed) reasoning, right?"

    Sounds as though you've already decided the paper is wrong, no matter how robust the research.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds like I need to see what the heck is it saying. I don't take any conclusions for granted and in fact I am never interested in conclusions alone: I want to see the data, the method, the partial results...

    And it is a legitimate scientific demand.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for the extensive answer Maju, while it was an informative answer in general I disagree with your notion of granting animals the same intellectual or emotional status as humans, this is a concept that finds its conception amongst rich and sophisticated (or at least they think they are) cosmopolitan people of the western world, they simply have too much time, money and liquor on their hands. I get a similar gut wrenching feeling when I see everyday, middle aged western women walking their dogs whom are wearing colorful and well embroidered sweaters, the dogs have fur for a reason, they already have a natural sweater, there is no need to waste sweaters on a dog.
    Anyway, I'm not against animals, I just believe they are NOT equal to us, that is why we eat them, make clothes out of them, and make them work for us for no fees, we shouldn't abuse them, but we should certainly use them to our utmost satisfaction.

    Back to the topic of this post, I had taken a look at the study “Y Chromosome Lineages in Men of West African Descent”, and I was really disappointed at the resolution of YDNA snps that they decided test, basically the only 2 things they tested for were the Yap+ insertion (defining Haplogroup DE) and the M89 snp (defining Haplogroup F), I am sorry but that is a weak study for being published in 2012 where we know a lot more about the human YDNA phylogeny and they could have at the very least resolved haplogroup E, which is likely mostly E1b1a1 into the known 8 branches (M58, M116.2,M149, M155,M10,M191, U175 and P268).

    Today for retail use FTDNA charges $29 per SNP, so those 8 SNPs would have cost them $232, for the number of individuals they have sampled of west African Descent (1228), it would cost ~$285,000 to type those individuals for those 8 snps at the RETAIL level, but we know some of these companies have huge markups. So perhaps it was a cost issue for the authors of this study, if so, they should have waited to publish the paper, IMO.....

    ReplyDelete
  16. Animals is a too broad category, which of course includes humans. I understand that it is important to realize that intelligence is not any absolute yes/no quality but a gradient, and even a multidimensional gradient I'd dare say (for example the artist elephant beats me at artistic intelligence quite clearly - I concede defeat in that aspect).

    I doubt this has anything to do with Paris Hilton and her chihuahua dogs. Nor it is a matter of wearing clothes because there are humans who go essentially naked and are as human and intelligent as anyone else.

    Intelligence is cognitive ability and that is something that is NOT exclusive of humans, with other animals scoring sometimes very high, very close to us (or even beyond in some aspects maybe).

    It's not a moral issue (that may become but it's a rather distinct matter) but an issue of understanding intelligence as it does manifest in humans and other animals. Understanding animal intelligence we also understand better our own.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "I am sorry but that is a weak study for being published in 2012"

    I must concur. That is why I did not give it more space to begin with. Still I felt it needed to be mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "I want to see the data, the method, the partial results... And it is a legitimate scientific demand".

    True. But I guess you're going to be really sore when it turns out I've been right all along concerning mt-DNAs N1'5, N2 and X. I accept, though, that no matter how robust the science in the paper you will reject the findings completely. It is very difficult to change an idea once you have totally accepted a contradictory idea.

    I know this won't appear in your comments but, as I say, I'm just trying to put you on the correct track.

    ReplyDelete
  19. "I'm just trying to put you on the correct track".

    Go put your damn fucking mother in the correct track if you can. What's the problem with you? Can't you understand that people do disagree? Why are you stalking me of all bloggers (with a pretense of intellectuality for which your thought is more often than not substandard anyhow)?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing the information, very interesting reads indeed. Evidence of mining for ocher hematite was found dating to 40,000 years ago in Bulgaria and Swaziland. Also bead and shells seem to point to large regional exchange. I hadn't popped in for a while. I've been digging like a miner for nuggets of information. Thanks again for so generously sharing yours.

    ReplyDelete

Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. Personal attacks, manipulation and trolling are also very much unwelcome here.The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Preliminary comment moderation is... ON (sorry, too many trolls).