March 28, 2013

Neanderthal mtDNA in alleged Italian hybrid from late Mousterian context

The alleged hybrid characteristics are only attributed to morphological data of the bones (the bulk of the paper), what is always subject of great debate. Otherwise most people would just think in terms of Neanderthal, as the individual from Monte Lessini is also from a Mousterian context. By this I do not mean there was no interbreeding in the Neanderthal direction, just that without clear genetic data, I fail to see such morphometric speculations as conclusive in any way.

S. Condemi et al., Possible Interbreeding in Late Italian Neanderthals? New Data from the Mezzena Jaw (Monti Lessini, Verona, Italy). PLoS ONE 2013. Open accessLINK [doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059781]

Abstract

In this article we examine the mandible of Riparo Mezzena a Middle Paleolithic rockshelter in the Monti Lessini (NE Italy, Verona) found in 1957 in association with Charentian Mousterian lithic assemblages. Mitochondrial DNA analysis performed on this jaw and on other cranial fragments found at the same stratigraphic level has led to the identification of the only genetically typed Neanderthal of the Italian peninsula and has confirmed through direct dating that it belongs to a late Neanderthal. Our aim here is to re-evaluate the taxonomic affinities of the Mezzena mandible in a wide comparative framework using both comparative morphology and geometric morphometrics. The comparative sample includes mid-Pleistocene fossils, Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans. This study of the Mezzena jaw shows that the chin region is similar to that of other late Neanderthals which display a much more modern morphology with an incipient mental trigone (e.g. Spy 1, La Ferrassie, Saint-Césaire). In our view, this change in morphology among late Neanderthals supports the hypothesis of anatomical change of late Neanderthals and the hypothesis of a certain degree of interbreeding with AMHs that, as the dating shows, was already present in the European territory. Our observations on the chin of the Mezzena mandible lead us to support a non abrupt phylogenetic transition for this period in Europe.

While there is little reason to doubt the Neanderthal attribution of these remains, the method of using only HVS-I is a bit antiquated and prone to errors and uncertainties. Follows table S10, with the genetic data (HVS-I) of this and other Neanderthal mtDNA sequences:


Table S10.

Fossil specimen
Country
mtDNA region
Length (bp)
Diagnostic Neanderthals trasversion in HVR1 according to
Reference
Feldhofer 1
Germany
Complete mtDNA
16565
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A


Feldhofer 2
Germany
Complete mtDNA
16565
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Mezmaiskaya
Russia
Complete mtDNA
16565
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Vindija 75
Croatia
HVR1
357
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Vindija 77
Croatia
HVR1
31
16256 C/A

Vindija 80 (33.16)
Croatia
Complete mtDNA
31
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Vindija 33.25

Complete mtDNA
16565
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Engis 2
Belgium
HVR1
31
16256 C/A

Le Chapelle-aux-Saint
France
HVR1
31
16256 C/A

Rochers de Villenueve
France
HVR1
31
16256 C/A

Scladina
Belgium
HVR1
123
16256 C/A

Monte Lessini
Italy
HVR1
378
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Monte Lessini Mandibula
Italy
HVR1
31
16256 C/A
This paper
El Sidron SD-441
Spain
HVR1
47
16256 C/A

El Sidron SD-1252
Spain
HVR1
303
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

EL Sidron 1253
Spain
Complete MtDNA
16565
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Valdegoba
Spain
HVR1
303
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Teshik Tash
Uzbekistan
HVR1
190
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A

Okladnikov
Russia
HVR1
348
16139 A/T
16256 C/A
Insertion 16263 A


7 comments:

  1. THese people are really interesting they might have DE* oor C* or K*. They might even have Neanderthal DNA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chagossians. Are they native to the islands? Or are they recent immigrants, they might be at least part native if they go back more than 500 years according to legand like the canary islanders.

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  2. According to Southern Maldivian oral tradition, local traders and fishermen were occasionally lost at sea and got stranded in one of the islands of the Chagos. Eventually they were rescued and brought back home.[9] However, these islands were judged to be too far away from the Maldives to be settled permanently by Maldivians. Thus for many centuries the Chagos were ignored by their northern neighbours.

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  3. THey could have Neandertthal/Denisenovan haplotypes probably not but they have never been studied so.

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  4. If they have A000 or a form of A or B or mtdna xMN they could break or make the OOA theory. 3 Years aog

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  5. While arguably obvious, I'll note that uniparental Neanderthal mtDNA is not at all inconsistent with hybrid status. Indeed, in an overall Neanderthal context that is what you would expect in a hybrid individual.

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  6. Have you seen this? The “Out of Africa Tribe” (II)
    Paleolithic warriors with big canoes and protective
    weapons
    http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/cib/2013CIB0019R.pdf?nocache=961027412

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel it may be a bit sensationalist. I discussed some of these aspects years ago in someone else's blog and it was clear that the hypothesis of war-mongering OoA peoples, in that case argued only on the existence of fighting rituals or martial arts, was lacking key evidence especially by ignoring the many South Asian forager tribes, who tend to be quite peaceful (both internally and externally). Also some of these traits may well have been adopted only in relatively recent times, at least by some of those ethnicities, even in some cases by influence of nearby Neolithic peoples.

      In this case, the South Asian foragers are completely ignored again, what really casts doubt on the whole hypothesis. Still the author may well have some reason in some aspects and it won't be me who denies an aspect of belligerence to ancient foragers, at least on occasion (hunting weapons can easily become weapons of war or murder: that's a fact that affects even the more peacenik tribals), but throwing all the weight onto mere war-mongering without enough evidence and with clear, but ignored, important exceptions, looks extremely far-fetched to my eyes.

      If anything one might argue that the actors of a secondary expansion within Eurasia-plus, maybe the peoples with primarily Y-DNA MNOPS and mtDNA R, were into that kind of stuff, what may explain (along maybe dog domestication, which is a powerful weapon for hunt as for war) their relative success in a time in which Eurasia was maybe largely colonized already. But I'm speculating here.

      Delete

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