Table of Content

    12 August 2022, Volume 41 Issue 04
    Morphological diversities and evolutionary implications of the late Middle Pleistocene hominins in China
    LIU Wu, WU Xiujie
    2022, 41(04):  563-575.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0024
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    The hominin fossils have been found in more than 20 late Middle Pleistocene sites in present China. For many years, these fossils have been classified as archaic Homo sapiens, intermediate between Homo erectus and early modern humans, and the ancestors of modern humans in East Asia. However, such an opinion has never been widely accepted in paleoanthropological community. There have been debates on the evolution and taxonomy of late Middle Pleistocene hominins in China and around the world. Since 21st century, some noticeable progresses on the late Middle Pleistocene hominin evolution in China have been achieved. The discoveries and studies on the hominin fossils of Penghu, Xuchang, Hualongdong, Xiahe and Harbin greatly enriched the hominin fossil record in China. Studies on the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils in China revealed complicated morphological diversities indicating simply classifying all the hominins of this time period into archaic Homo sapiens cannot accurately reflect the evolutionary patterns of Middle Pleistocene hominins in China. According to the studies of the hominin fossils from Xujiayao, Xuchang, Hualongdong, Xiahe and Harbin, some new opinions on the evolutionary pattern and taxonomy of the late Middle Pleistocene hominins in China have been proposed and triggered different understandings.

    In this study, with analyzing the morphological diversities of late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils in China, four types of the diversities were identified. Xuchang and Xujiyao are characterized with huge-sized crania and cranial capacity (1800 mL and 1700 mL respectively) with some Neanderthal features. These features occurred together in Xuchang and Xujiayao crania constitute unique morphological combinations which have not been found in all other contemporaneous hominin fossils. The other types of morphological diversities are characterized with 1) dominant common sharing features of late Middle Pleistocene hominins; 2) mainly primitive features; and 3) mainly derived or modern features. These morphological diversities suggest that not all the late Middle Pleistocene hominins in China contributed the formation of modern humans equally. Regarding the opinions that put some of the hominin fossils into different Homo members or taxa, the authors believe that at the present with no fully understanding these morphological diversities, treating the related late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils in China with combined or mosaic morphological features as populations of unclear taxonomic status is a proper way.

    Modeling the origin of modern humans in light of new evidence
    NI Xijun
    2022, 41(04):  576-592.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0028
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    Anatomically modern human (AMH) is a term used for living and fossil humans that have globular skull, short and flat face, gracile skeleton, and a set of other osteological distinctive features different from most of the archaic humans. Researchers, who take Multiregional Evolution model (MEM) as their paradigm, use AMH as a counter part of archaic Homo sapiens, while Recent African Origin (RAO) supporters use the term for all H. sapiens. MEM was derived from continuous evolution ideology. Branching evolution was believed to be negligible during the rise of modern populations. The similarities between different local populations were regarded as the results of convergent evolution. RAO on the other hand suggests that human evolution follows the cladistic form as in the other creatures. AMHs belong to a monophyletic group and have a single origin in Africa. Non-African human populations dispersed out of Africa. Archaic human populations in Europe and Asia were replaced by the anatomically modern human during the dispersal of the latter, and there were very limited genetic exchanges between modern and archaic human populations. Recent advances in ancient DNA and proteomic researches revealed that inter-specific interbreeding did occur among H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis and the unnamed Denisovan populations. Genomic analyses, however, indicate that regions with a high frequency of Neanderthal derived alleles in modern human genomes are mostly related to deleterious genes. Strong reproductive isolation between modern humans and Neanderthals was also detected. Instead of supporting the multiregional model, the molecular data actually reveals that modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans are all belong to their own species at genetic level. Debates over taxonomic assignments of some specific fossils may not be helpful for detecting the evolutionary pattern of Homo in general and the origin of H. sapiens in particular, because most of recent comparisons and analyses are at specimen or population levels, not at species level. Our recent parsimony analyses and Bayesian inferring based on large data matrix revealed that the AMHs formed a monophyletic group. Another monophyletic clade represented by Dali and Harbin skulls is the sister of this group. The divergent time between Neanderthals and AMHs is over 1 million years. This estimation is much older than previous aDNA inferring, but is consistent with the recent results based on genome-wide genealogical analyses. Biogeographic model tests also reveal that a model including multiple multi-directional dispersals among Asia, Europe and Asia statistically fits the phylogenetic tree better than the MEM and RAO.

    Evolution of cave system at Hualongdong, Anhui and its relation to human occupation
    PEI Shuwen, CAI Yanjun, DONG Zhe, TONG Haowen, SHENG Jinchao, JIN Zetian, WU Xiujie, LIU Wu
    2022, 41(04):  593-607.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0022
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    The Hualongdong (HLD) site (latitude 30°06′34.1"N, longitude 116°56′54.2"E, 40 m above sea level) is located in Dongzhi County, Anhui Province, China. It was discovered in 2005. The initial excavations at the HLD site in 2006 yielded a hominin frontal fragment and a lower second molar. Renewed excavations were carried out from 2014 to 2019 field seasons which resulted in the discovery of more than 30 human fossils, an abundance of lithic artifacts and fossil mammal fauna. Biostratigraphic study of faunal remains, as well as Uranium-Thorium dating of speleothems and animal teeth from the brecciated deposits indicated that early human occupied the site most probably took place in the late Middle Pleistocene, ca. 300 ka (270-330 ka). This paper presents the cave development and evolutionary history of the HLD site, and provides explanations of the hominin adapted behavior and the function of the site.

    HLD cave is situated in the south slope of a small anticline named Meiyuan Hill. Constrained by the regional geological background, geomorphic features around HLD include lower mountains in the southeast, gentle hills and a lake plain in the northwest. The ancient HLD cave developed in the Upper Cambrian Formation, which consists of banded micritic limestone and dolomitic limestone, materials formed in a deep marine environment, and has been moderately karstified and mineralized over time. The initial formation of the ancient HLD cave likely commenced not later than the early Middle Pleistocene, as many broken speleothems were dated beyond the upper limits of the U-series dating. The original cave deposits were about 20 m higher above its current location, as indicated by the in situ flowstone and stalagmites exposed, which were formed inside the ancient HLD cave. Synsedimentary dismantlement, downward slippage, and bedrock weathering are indicated by the brecciated arrangement of the limestone rock blocks, cemented angular, subangular clasts and archaeological remains within the excavation area. Slipping and collapsing of the cave system proceeded from north to south, probably driven by the down-cutting of the valley and karst erosion.

    Bone fragmentation is common and includes both diagenetic and green fractures probably produced by carnivore bone cracking and hominin hammerstone breaking. Additionally, carnivore (tooth pits, gnawing and scores marks) and human (cut marks) actions are documented over the bones. The stone tool assemblage is typical of Mode 1, i.e. the core-and-flake industries. Typologically, the HLD lithic assemblage is small (n=38) and is dominated by quartz (65.8%) and chert (21.1%), plus some lava (10.5%) and limestone (2.6%) artifacts. Most stone tools are complete flakes (60.5%) or debitage (31.6%), with only one specimen each of core, retouched and battered artifact categories. Quartz and lava show fluvial cortex and suggest sourcing from streams, whereas chert nodules derive from the nearby Sinian siliceous carbonate-clastic strata formation. A minimum of 44.4% of the quartz products were obtained through bipolar flaking, whereas all of the chert flakes were knapped with a freehand technique. The raw material quality of chert flakes is high, which may explain heavier reduction observed in their dorsal faces. Most chert flakes show use-wear, probably associated with carcass processing given the presence of cutmarks on some bones.

    Although human presence at HLD site is attested by the recovery of their fossils and the small samples of cut-marked bones and stone tools, human activity seems to have been marginal at the site. Two possible scenarios can be deduced, either humans occasionally visited HLD site to briefly process animal remains attracted by carcasses abandoned by carnivores, or natural transport processes such as slope wash or gravity resulted in a fortuitous association between the carnivore-accumulated bone assemblage and lithics.

    Identification of traumatic lesions and artificial cut marks on the Zhoukoudian Homo erectus crania
    WU Xiujie
    2022, 41(04):  608-617.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0021
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    In the 1940s, Franz Weidenreich speculated that human activities were responsible for depressions, scars, cracks and grooves observed on exocranial surfaces of fossil skulls unearthed at the Zhoukoudian (ZKD) Locality 1. These findings prompted him to suggest that Sinanthropus pekinensis (ZKD Homo erectus) practiced cannibalism, sparking debates by scholars and science enthusiasts as to whether Sinanthropus pekinensis engaged in this activity. The human fossils found at the Zhoukoudian Locality 1 represent about 40 individual. Unfortunately, almost all of the specimens were lost during the World War II, with only written descriptions, pictures and casts of the skulls remaining. Here, five casts of ZKD H. erectus specimens (ZKD II, ZKD VI, ZKD X, ZKD XI, ZKD XII) were examined to determine whether exocranial surface marks described by Weidenreich might have been created through human agency. The results indicated: 1) Among the eight marks on ZKD X, XI and XII crania attributed to suspected cannibalistic activity, seven were confirmed to be localized wounds caused by non-fatal blows to victims’heads occurring prior to death; these marks exhibited signs of healing; 2) The depressed crack on the ZKD VI cranial fragment resulted from a severe blow to the head that lacked signs of healing; 3) Sulci and grooves reported by Weidenreich as suspected man-made cut marks on parietal bones of ZKD II and VI were actually caused by natural factors or animal gnawing activities. Ultimately, all exocranial trauma marks on ZKD H. erectus skull surfaces as reported by Weidenreich were examined, with parietal bone involvement predominating and frontal bone involvement observed to a lesser degree. Exocranial locations of these trauma marks are consistent with patterns of skull damage known to result from violent interpersonal combat. Taken together, the results of this study confirm that ZKD H. erectus crania exhibited signs of trauma that did not result from cannibalistic activities. As for the specimens used in this paper are casts, there are limitations compared with original fossils, and further verification by fossil evidence is needed in the future.

    Paleolithic typology and relevant practice in archaeological research in China
    GAO Xing
    2022, 41(04):  618-629.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0034
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    This paper made a critical review on the development of stone artifact classification and typological research in paleolithic archaeological field. It traced back the origin of this approach in France and subsequent development in Africa, Southeast Asia and China. Its roles in paleolithic studies as well as the limitation and controversies surrounding it were accessed and analyzed.

    Classification on lithic materials and typological analysis are basic academic practice in paleolithic research. F. Bordes’ typological framework came into being in the 1950s and 1960s made profound influence in this subject, other scholars also made contributions to this scheme by adding regional typological variants. Throughout its development, the exercise of lithic classification and typological investigation have been questioned and criticized for its subjective matters and the lack of commonly accepted criteria, and efforts of amendment and improvement have been continued. Today, lithic typological system has largely become a tool-kit for organizing, categorizing, simplifying and describing information of unearthed materials from certain sites. Its function as a descriptive tool is important; it can provide vital information on the content of certain archaeological collection, the nature and formation of the site, lithic technology, stone tool function, cultural tradition and development, etc. However, compared to studies on lithic technology, tool function, raw material exploitation, subsistent pattern, adaptation strategy and landscape utility, which are more closely related to human behavior and cognitive capacity, typological inquiry is becoming less indispensable and more and more marginal in the whole research enterprise. Lithic typology in China is a good example of the general trend of development of this research field; it is an admixture and integration of key western typological elements and terms and innovation with regional characteristics. To better understand the current debates and concerns regarding the status and function of lithic typology, we need to clarify the nature, principle, function and limitation of traditional typology, and to move forward from a basic classification and description tradition to in-depth research into human behavior and adaption. A techno-typological approach guided by the conception of Chaîne opératoire and aided by digital technology might be the solution toward this direction.

    A probe into the southern dispersal route of early modern humans
    LI Hao
    2022, 41(04):  630-648.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0031
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    The southern dispersal route of early modern humans has become a highly discussed topic internationally, primarily because it aids our understanding of modern humans’ migration and adaptations in the southern part of Eurasia, Island Southeast Asia and Oceania. This paper aims to review various aspects of this dispersal, including its timing, possible routes, and current debates.

    Presently, increasing evidence indicates that early modern humans equipped with Middle Paleolithic technologies migrated out of Africa and arrived in the Arabia peninsular and South Asia during MIS 5 stage, and they may also have reached Australia by at least 65 ka. Paleoenvironmental and GIS-based analyses indicate that both coastal and inland routes were likely taken during the dispersal, and current dispersal debates are concerned with establishing the range of its geographic expansion, in addition to assessing how influential it was in facilitating the occupation of early modern humans in different regions.

    After ca. 50 ka, early modern humans on the Southern Dispersal Route begin to show similar behavioral characteristics with contemporaneous modern humans in Africa and in the northern part of Eurasia, such as the use of ochres, personal ornamentation, and cave art. At the same time, these modern humans also developed regional adaptations independently, for instance, the exploitation of rainforest environments and marine resources, the production of water craft, amongst others. Regarding lithic technology, archaeological evidence in South Asia shows the appearance of advanced microlithic technology (microblade, backed tools and etc.) by 50-30 ka, whereas in Southeast Asia and the Oceania, lithic technology trends towards miniaturization, expediency, and an emphasis on micro-flake production. The application of use-wear and residue analyses also indicates that some micro-flakes were used to make organic tools or to form part of composite tools, implying the existence of complex technological behaviors.

    South China is adjacent to Southeast Asia and the Indian Peninsular and therefore can be included in research on the Southern Dispersal Route, from both geographical and environmental perspectives. However, such a study has rarely been done in South China. To explore the emergence and evolution of early modern humans in South China, quantitative and inter-regional technological-based comparisons and analyses are needed on both the Middle Paleolithic assemblages and those micro-flake-based Late Paleolithic assemblages found in South China, along with robust use wear and residue studies.

    Significance of modern human exploration of ochre in its evolution
    YANG Shixia, XU Jingwen, HUAN Faxiang
    2022, 41(04):  649-658.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0030
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    The ochre using has been long featured centrally in debates about the origins of symbolic and cognitively modern human behavior. In this paper, we reviewed the ochre using archaeological evidence internationally to clarify its origin, developmental process and its relationship with modern human evolution. Though the ochre using could be dated back to the Middle Pleistocene and also could happened to some archaic hominins, such as Neanderthals, it is deeply related to the origin and dispersal of modern human. We also reviewed the current archaeological evidence related to the ochre exploration in China. It is quite evident that the ochre using behaviors were clear recorded 40,000 years ago, at the time window modern human arrived at North China indicated by fossil and DNA evidence.

    Exploitation of ochre, happened between 300 ka and 500 ka in Africa, is a part of technique innovations or behavioral shifts recorded in Middle Pleistocene, and contemporaneous with the raise of more hominin species (including our own species). Afterwards, around 200 ka, more ochre using evidence were recorded in Africa, Europe and Western Asia. Until around 100 ka, the clear ochre processing evidence and application of ochre on body decoration, cave paintings and even as adhesive. The "ochre using" emerged in large numbers during this period, could be related the dispersal of modern human and the increasing of some archaic hominins. Until around 40 ka, when the modern human widely distributed, diverse ochre applications appeared worldwide. When reviewing the archaeological evidence from China, within this time window, the ochre processing of Xiamabei was occurred, and shows that new adaptations were taking place as modern humans entered the region roughly 40,000 years ago. Afterwards, more archaeological evidence appeared in North and South China, such as the well-known finding in Zhoukoudian Upper Cave, and recently published rock paintings at Tiger Leaping Gorge. Although residue analysis indicated that the presence of ochre within the incised lines in Lingjing site can be dated back to around 100 ka BP, this may illustrate the possibility of ochre exploration of other Late Pleistocene hominins. We should not rule out the possibility that much older ochre exploration evidence would be identified in the future archaeological studies.

    We augured that the behavior adaptation and evolution should be a process, not an event. For our own species, the so called ‘behavioral modernity’ could be rooted in the evolutionary history of some late archaic hominins. The ochre using widespread after the modern human occupied most of the world, and it is a key element of the package of behavioral modernity, but it is not an event of invention of Homo sapiens.

    Phalangeal curvature and locomotor behavior of fossil hominoids
    ZHANG Yingqi, Terry HARRISON
    2022, 41(04):  659-673.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0033
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    Phalangeal curvature of primates is an important indicator of arboreality and suspensory locomotion. Fourth order polynomial curve fitting on geometric morphometric landmark data (GM-PCF) provides a more precise and accurate quantitative measure of phalangeal curvature, namely normalized phalangeal curve height (NPCH), which controls for the impact of size. Coupled with phalangeal curve length (PCL), NPCH maps primate phalangeal curvature to locomotor modes more accurately. Furthermore, data on phalangeal curvature derived from a sample of 15 extant anthropoid primate taxa comprising 328 individuals and more than 5000 phalangeal specimens can be used to reconstruct the locomotor behaviors of fossil primates. In this study, the postcranial morphological adaptations and locomotor behaviors of fossil hominoids with complete II-V proximal phalanges (pedal and manual) are inferred using GM-PCF analysis of phalangeal curvature. The aim is to provide new information that can contribute to a more complete understanding of the evolution of the locomotor behavior of fossil hominoids. The results indicate that generally there are four stages in the evolution of hominoid locomotor behavior, including the generalized arboreal quadrupedalism stage of basal hominoids, the arboreal suspension stage of early hominids, the commencement of bipedalism with retention of suspension ability stage of early hominins and australopiths, and the bipedalism stage of the genus Homo. The adaptation of climbing and suspension does not follow a simple linear mode, but develops in a mosaic pattern, and occurs in different lineages of hominoids through different pathways, even multiple times until it completely disappears in the end. The manual phalangeal curvature comparable to modern humans already occurred in OH 86 from the >1.84 MaBP deposits of Olduvai, whereas the nearly contemporary Paranthropus robustus from South Africa still retained more curved manual and pedal phalanges. Homo naledi also has extraordinarily curved manual phalanges. Nevertheless, locomotor behavior needs the coordination of the whole body. The phalangeal curvature is just one line of evidence of functional morphology. When reconstructing the locomotor behavior of a certain fossil hominoid taxon, it is necessary to take not only the functional morphological feature of the whole body into consideration, but also the paleo-ecological factors. Another intriguing finding of this research is that, in hominoids, the ratio of the curve length of manual to pedal proximal phalanges is indicative of obligate or facultative bipedalism when it is larger than 1.3. In general, the more quadrupedal primates tend to have a ratio that is closer to 1, which means that their manual and pedal proximal phalanges have a similar curve length. However, Pongo is an exception, because it has a ratio of 1.03 in spite of being highly suspensory. Hylobatids and great apes other than Pongo all have a ratio larger than 1.3 and all engage in obligate or facultative bipedalism. If this is the case, the early hominin Ardipithecus ramidus, the australopiths Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus, and Homo floresiensis should also have engaged in certain kinds of bipedalism.

    Quantitative analysis of bone deformation on foot binding female of Taohuayuan Cemetery of Ming and Qing Dynasties in Jizhou, Tianjin
    LI Fajun, QIU Linhuan, ZHAO Chen, SHENG Lishuang
    2022, 41(04):  674-685.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0023
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    Based on the quantitative data, the authors systematically analyzed the deformation mode, degree and symmetry of 101 female foot bones in Taohuayuan cemetery in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The results show that although the morphology of bilateral foot bones of a woman with foot binding will be different due to the differences of individual physical development, behavior habits or foot binding techniques, the deformation of bilateral foot bones is generally symmetrical. In addition to the hook shape change of scaphoid tuberosity, the effect of foot binding on tarsal bone mainly lies in the reduction of overall size and the change of articular surface. In addition to the reduction of the overall size of the first metatarsal, the lateral articular surface is obviously prominent, the bone body tends to be flat, the anterior width of the body is greater than the posterior width, and the metatarsal head also produces dissolution and atrophy due to arthritis caused by foot binding. The second and third metatarsal bodies are flat, and the size of the head and bottom is reduced, but the deformation is small. Very few of the fourth metatarsal head will be squeezed to form a flat shape, with slight deformation at the bottom. The deformation degree of the whole sample of the fifth metatarsal bone is different, the deformation of the metatarsal head is diverse, and the trochanter of the fifth metatarsal bone is also deformed. Except that the first proximal phalanx was less affected by foot binding, the deformation of other proximal phalanx was serious. The lateral differences between the first and second proximal phalanges are small, but there are obvious lateral differences in the length and height of the third to fifth proximal phalanges, especially the overall bilateral asymmetry of the third proximal phalanges. The results of the study on the correlation between age and foot binding show that according to the current sample age range, this group has foot binding at least at 18 years old, and the foot bone has been deformed after 25 years old. Due to the lack of samples under the age of 18 years old in this study, it is impossible to determine the age at which the bone begins to deform. In some individuals, the degree of foot bone deformation is relatively light, and they may only have straight foot fibers without bending. Because the degree of foot bone deformation is not related to the number of funerary objects, the difference of foot bone deformation is likely to be related to physical diseases, work needs, the methods or concept of foot binding.

    Bioarchaeology of Neolithic Yangshao human skeletal remains from Baligang, Dengzhou: A diachronic approach
    HE Jianing, LI Nan, ZHANG Chi
    2022, 41(04):  686-697.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0027
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    Yangshao culture is one of the most representative Neolithic cultures in north China and played an important role in the origins of civilization in China. The bioarchaeological analysis of Yangshao human skeletal remains from Baligang, Dengzhou, Henan Province shows that in more than one thousand years of the occupation of the site (ca 4000-3000 BC), there are some clear osteological changes in Yangshao residents. Diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry analysis of femur midshaft and mid-distal humerus shaft revealed a decrease in lower limb mobility as well as the gracilization of both upper and lower limbs in males and females, which indicate an increasingly sedentary lifestyle over time and decreased workload that may related to the progress of technology. From the early to middle and late Yangshao period, the rate of dental caries increase significantly from 7.8% to 18.0% in males and from 13.2% to 20.9% in females. However, the blunt trauma of the skull decreased distinctly from 21.3% to 5.3% in males but maintained at low level in females from 10.4% to 7.4%. Combining with zooarchaeological and other archaeological evidence, these changes are related to the increasing sedentary lifestyle, the maturity of agricultural economy, reduced dependence on hunting-gathering economy and the development of food processing technology through time. In the meantime, female stature shows a reduction of 2.5 cm from 160.3 cm to 157.8 cm while male stature remain constant at 168.3~168.4 cm. Other palaeopathological stress indicator also show differences between males and females. A clear increase of tibia periosteal abnormal new bone formation can be observed in females. The rate of linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH) in lower canine is high, however there is no changes of the rate of LEH through time. The decreased stature and the increase of periosteal abnormal new bone formation of tibia in females indicate the social status of females tend to decline in late Yangshao period. According to archaeological evidence, a series of important changes took place in middle and late Yangshao societies in central China, such as the emergence of ancient cities, large households and large tombs, the hierarchical settlement also appeared within the region, which all indicate the emergence of social complexity and the establishment of new social order in this period. Morphological and palaeopathological changes of human skeletal remains are also part of this process. The physical characteristics of Baligang Yangshao skeletal remains are closely related to their behavior patterns and social-cultural context.

    Physical types and ethnological characteristics of Tibetans
    LI Yonglan, YU Keli, ZHANG Xinghua, BAO Jinping, LI Chong, ZHENG Lianbin
    2022, 41(04):  698-711.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0020
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    The physique types and ethnological characteristics of Tibetans have always been concerned by academia. According to the statistics of 1530 cases of Weizang Tibetan, Kham Tibetan and Amdo Tibetan measured in 2018, 2019 and 2021, it was found that Tibetan men and women were all super-medium stature, overweight, and all brachycephaly, hypsicephalic, metriocephalic, mesorrhiny, middle trunk, wide chest, wide shoulders, wide pelvis, mesatiskelic, most of them have eyefold of upper eyelid and mongoloid fold. Analysis of the average principal component of 15 Chinese ethnic measurement indicators shows that the location between Tibetans and Han ethnic group of the East Asian is closer than most of North Asian ethnic groups, and the location of Tibetans is closer to most South Asian ethnic groups. The main component analysis chart of East Asian, South Asian, North Asian and Arctic type data in Tibetan data and foreign data shows that Tibetans are the closest to East Asian-type. Research has confirmed that contemporary Tibetans have the characteristics of Mongolian East Asian-type constitution.

    Reliability and upper age limit of luminescence dating for the Paleolithic and paleoanthropological sites
    ZHANG Jiafu
    2022, 41(04):  712-730.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0032
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    The development of the luminescence dating technique has made it one of the important dating tools for c onstructing the chronological framework of Paleolithic and palaeoanthropological sites, especially those related to modern humans. It has provided the earliest evidence for the appearance of modern humans in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Therefore, this dating method has attracted extensive attention from Paleolithic archaeologists and paleoanthropologists, especially on the reliability and upper age limit for this dating technique. Luminescence dating materials are ubiquitous quartz or potassium feldspar grains within archaeological deposits, which makes it to date any archaeological sites. In this paper, the basic principle of luminescence dating is briefly introduced, and its reliability and upper age limit, as well as their influencing factors, are reviewed. Literature data show that the precision (e.g., the relative standard error) of luminescence age is mainly related to the physical properties of dated samples and dose rates. The relative standard error(σ) of luminescence age is generally 5%-10%, but it could be <5% under some ideal conditions and sometimes >10% for some samples. A large number of studies have shown that luminescence ages are consistent with independent ages obtained from other dating methods, indicating that this technique is reliable and can be used to build the robust chronology of Paleolithic sites. The upper age limit of luminescence dating is determined by the luminescence properties of dated samples and environmental dose rates. At some sites, reliable luminescence ages up to 1 Ma have been obtained. The upper dating limit of 500 ka is feasible for sediment samples from the majority of Paleolithic sites, and this age range covers the entire period of modern humans. It should be noted that the luminescence properties of sediment samples vary widely from location to location, from sample to sample, and even from grain to grain. The most important of these properties include the stability of luminescence signals and the shape of the dose-response (growth) curve, which are demonstrated by the lifetime of luminescence signals and characteristic dose (D0). The difference in luminescence properties between samples or grains results in different upper dating limits for different samples and even different grains. For the same sample, the upper luminescence age limit of quartz is generally lower than that of potassium feldspar. For the same mineral, different luminescence signals and procedures used to determine equivalent doses may result in different upper limits. Therefore, the upper age limit of luminescence dating is a relatively complicated issue, which depends on the sample’s location, luminescence behaviors, environmental dose rate, and analytical methods.

    Periodic climate change and human adaptation
    LYU Houyuan
    2022, 41(04):  731-748.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0029
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    Since ancient times, climate change, especially periodic oscillation, has profoundly affected the transformation and development of human society. Periodic climate change left its imprints in the origins and migration of humans in the Paleolithic Age, the evolution of culture and civilization in the Neolithic Age, the rise and fall of dynasties in historical periods, the socio-economic turmoils in the era of industrialization, and all other anthropological issues. On the basis of new evidence and progresses in paleoclimatology, paleoanthropology, and environmental archaeology in recent years, this paper examines climatic characteristics at various development stages and key nodes of human society from the perspective of periodic climate change. Using typical study cases, it introduces and analyzes the complex interaction between periodic climate change and human activities at different temporal and spatial scales in the Paleolithic, Neolithic and historical periods, involving the link of periodic climate change to human evolution and migration during the Paleolithic Age, the association of periodic climate change with cultural succession as well as the origin and development of agriculture during the Neolithic Age, complex relationship between periodic climate change and human activities since the historical period, and new viewpoints on the mechanisms of periodic climate change and human social adaptability; it also discusses the similarities and differences between natural and social sciences in understanding the mechanisms underlying the relationship of climate change to human activities, and expounds a new paradigm to study of the relationship between climate change and human activities under the background of interdisciplinary research.

    This new research paradigm involves progresses and breakthroughs in theories, methods, technologies, and applications of climate change and social-cultural development. The following aspects thus must be considered in future studies: 1) transforming the traditional and scattered evidence of qualitative description into continuous temporal-spatial sequences of quantitative parameters (e,g., rate of change, speed, amplitude, threshold) and, and taking into account the multi-source, multi-scale, high-dimensional and complex spatio-temporal dependence of data; 2) merging the case study into the statistical test of big data, and distinguishing the climate-culture phenomena and nodes associated with periodic changes and event superpositions at different time scales through statistical methods such as Bayesian probability and probability inference; 3) carrying out systematical studies on the representative signs of cultures and their quantitative methods in different scenes of history and prehistoric periods, and establishing linear-nonlinear relationships models among human activities, cultural changes, and variations of temperature, precipitation and ecological environment; and 4) having a clear understanding that the studies of paleoclimate changes are providing evidence of multi-layered interaction for the study of earth system science together with the studies of archaeological culture instead of just serving for interpreting past human activities.

    Relationship between the human activity and environment changes during the Neolithic and Bronze Age in different precipitation areas of Northwestern China
    LU Yongxiu, DONG Guanghui
    2022, 41(04):  749-763.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0026
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    The relationship between humans and the environment during the prehistoric period has been receiving increased attention by multiple disciplinarians, including but not limited to anthropologists, archaeologists, and geographers. Northwestern China, the core location of the prehistoric trans-continental exchange, is characterized by complex and diverse topographical features, and rich archaeological remains from the Neolithic period to the Bronze age. However, the prehistoric relationship between humans and the environment in northwestern China with different precipitation remains unknown. Here we based on a review and comprehensive analysis of the multidisciplinary data, such as radiocarbon dates, archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological data, carbon isotopic data of human bone, the spatiotemporal changes of human activities and subsistence strategy during the Neolithic and Bronze periods in northwestern China were reported. And combined with high-resolution paleoclimate records, the trajectory of human-environment interaction, as well as the possible influencing factors were discussed. The final dataset used for analysis included 1440 (349 sites) published radiocarbon dates, 432542 (208 sites) identified crop remains data, 97256 (49 sites) identified animal remains data, and 862 (46 sites) measured carbon isotopic data from human bone were analyzed, respectively. Our results indicate that during the 10000-6000 BP humans in northwestern China mainly lived in the areas that had more than 400 mm of precipitation. As the millet agriculture was still in the early stage of development, the intensity of human activities was relatively low during this time, therefore, the relationship between climate and human activity is not decipherable. During the 6000-4000 BP, intensification of millet agriculture promoted westward dispersal of human activities, which were still mainly distributed in the area with precipitation more than 400 mm, but the human activities leading to migration into areas with precipitation less than 200 mm during the final phase of this period. The intensity of human settlement was declined with the influence of the cold-dry climate events, and the natural vegetation/land were degraded by human agricultural activities in this period. By 4000-2200 BP, the diversification of subsistence strategy was enhanced by the utilization of diverse crops and livestock, especially wheat, barley, and herbivorous livestock that were introduced into northwestern China through prehistoric trans-Eurasia exchange. Meanwhile, the ability of humans to adapt and impact the local environment in different precipitation areas was significantly increased in this period, especially the ability of human to adapt the dry climate in the area with precipitation less than 200 mm. This study will allow us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the processes and driving factors of human-environment interaction in northwestern China during the Neolithic and Bronze periods.

    Progress in genomes of ancient pathogenic microorganisms
    CUI Yinqiu, ZHANG Hao, WU Xiyan, SUN Bing, ZHOU Hui
    2022, 41(04):  764-774.  doi:10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2022.0025
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    Terrible epidemic disasters, such as the Black Death and smallpox, have run through the history of human society and have had a major impact on the development of human civilization and even the rise and fall of dynasties. Obtaining and analyzing the genomes of pathogens from major ancient outbreaks can not only reveal the causes of formation behind the devastating historical catastrophes of the era, but also be traced to the geographic spread and evolutionary patterns of pathogens, with important implications for the fields of pathology, microbiology, and archaeology.

    In this review, we first briefly introduce the plague disasters that occurred in history and their impact on human history, and then introduce traditional research methods on ancient plagues, including philology and paleopathology. We also point out the limitations of these traditional studies, such as differences in ancient and modern medical knowledge systems that make it difficult to draw firm conclusions from historical records, and morphological studies that are difficult to detect for those that do not cause overt skeletal damage.

    In the past decade, the development and application of high-throughput sequencing have made it possible to recover ancient DNA, although we still need pay a lot attention to exogenous contamination, the ancient pathogen genome characterized by high degradation and low abundance can be retrieved by targeted enrichment technologies and powerful computational approach. Reconstructed pathogen genomes provide a unique window into the origin, spread, and evolution of human infectious diseases. In today’s globalized context, the frequency of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases prompts us to look back at past epidemics, which can help us better understand the processes and ecology of the emergence of modern pathogens and the re-emergence of ancient pathogens. we briefly describe the wet-lab procedures and analytical approaches used to study the microbial composition of ancient samples, and summarize studies Progress of ancient pathogen genomes using the study of ancient Yersinia pestis and Salmonella enterica genomes as examples, and exibit these studies have provide us the new insights to pathogen evolution, antibiotic resistance, and ancient health, cultural practices, and historical epidemics. Finally, we also propose the challenges facing this research and future research prospects and directions.