Science & Technology

The DNA of modern humans buried 7,000 years ago shows previously unknown ancient relationships.

Leang Panninge Cave on the southern peninsula of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Credit: Leang Panninge Research Project

International research team separates DNA From a modern man buried in Sulawesi, Indonesia 7,000 years ago.

International research has been achieved through close collaboration with several Indonesian researchers and institutions. It was led by Professor Johannes Klaus of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Human History Science of Jena, Professor Kosimopost of the Center for Human Evolution and Paleoecology at the University of Tubingen, and Professor Adam Blum of Griffith. Australian university.The study is published in the latest version of Nature..

Almost completely preserved skeleton

The Wolasia Islands formed a stepping stone in the first modern human spread from Eurasia to Oceania, perhaps more than 50,000 years ago. Archaeological findings indicate that our species’ ancestors lived in Wallacea as early as 47,000 years ago. However, few human skeletons have been discovered. One of the region’s most distinctive archaeological discoveries is the Toalean Technology Complex, which dates back 8,000 to 1,500 years, much more recently. Among the objects manufactured by the people of the Toalean culture is the characteristic stone arrowhead known as the Maros Point. Toalean culture is found only in a relatively small area of ​​the southern peninsula of Sulawesi. “We were able to assign the burial at Lean Paninge to that culture,” says Adam Blum. “This is noteworthy because it is the first near-perfect and well-preserved skeleton associated with Toalean culture.”

Leang Panninge Cave Skeleton

Archaeological excavation at the Leang Panninge site: Skeletons found.Credits: Hasanuddin University, Indonesia

Serena Karl Hoff, a doctoral candidate at the Maxplank Institute for Human History Sciences and the lead author of the study, isolated DNA from the pyramidal bone of the skull. “This was a big challenge, as the tropical climate has significantly degraded the ruins,” she says. Analysis shows that Leang Panninge’s individuals were associated with the first modern humans to spread from the Eurasian continent to Oceania about 50,000 years ago. Like the indigenous genomes of New Guinea and Australia, the Leang Panninge’s individual genome contained trace amounts of Denisovan DNA. The Denisovans are an extinct group of former humans known primarily from their discoveries in Siberia and Tibet. “The fact that their genes are found in Leang Panninge hunter-gatherers supports our previous hypothesis that the Denisovans occupied a much larger geographic area,” says Johannes Krause.

Another piece of the great genetic puzzle

Comparison with the genomic data of hunter-gatherers who lived west of Wallacea at about the same time as the Leang Panninge individuals provided further clues – the data did not show evidence of Denisovan DNA. “The geographical distribution of Denisovans and moderns may overlap in the Wallacea region. It may be an important place where Denisovans and indigenous Australians and Papuans ancestors crossed,” Cosimo Posth said. Mr. says.

Stone iron

The stone iron, known as Maros Point, dates back 8000 years. They are considered typical of the Toalean techno complex developed by people living south of Sulawesi. Credit: Yinika L Perston

However, Leang Panninge individuals also carry most of their genome from ancient Asian populations. “It was a surprise to know the spread of modern people from East Asia to the Wallacea region, but it happened much later, about 3,500 years ago. It’s been a long time this individual was alive. It was later, “reports Johannes Klaus. In addition, the research team has not found evidence that the group Leang Panninge belonged to the left offspring of Wallacea’s population today. It remains unclear what happened to the Toalean culture and its people. “This new piece of genetic puzzle by Leang Panninge shows, among other things, that we know very little about the genetic history of modern humans in Southeast Asia,” Posth says.

Reference: By Serena Karlhof, Akin Duri, Katrin Negere, Muhammad Null, Lauritz Skov, Ivan Sumantri, Adi Agus Octaviana, Budiant Hakim, Baslan Barhan, Faldi Ali Shader, David P. “Genome of Holocene Hunter Collectors from Wallacea” McGahan, David Bulbeck, Yinika L. Perston, Kim Newman, Andi Muhammad Saiful, Marlon Ririmasse, Stephen Chia, Hasanuddin, Dwia Aries Tina Pulubuhu, Suryatman, Supriadi, Choongwon Jeong, Benjamin M. Peter, Kay Prüfer, Adam Powell, Johannes Krause, Cosimo Posth and Adam Bulbeck, August 25, 2021 Nature..
DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03823-6

The DNA of modern humans buried 7,000 years ago shows previously unknown ancient relationships. The DNA of modern humans buried 7,000 years ago shows previously unknown ancient relationships.

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