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  • ItemAccepted versionOpen Access
    Reply to Stojanowski et al.
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2016-11-24) Mirazon Lahr, MB; Rivera, F; Power, RK; Mounier, A; Copsey, B; Crivellaro, F; Edung, JE; Maillo Fernandez, JM; Kiarie, C; Lawrence, J; Leakey, A; Mbua, E; Miller, H; Muigai, A; Mukhongo, DM; Van Baelen, A; Wood, R; Schwenninger, J-L; Grün, R; Achyuthan, H; Wilshaw, A; Foley, RA; Mirazon Lahr, Marta [0000-0001-5752-5770]; Wilshaw, Alexis [0000-0001-7459-7784]; Foley, Robert [0000-0003-0479-3039]
    In the accompanying Comment1, Stojanowski et al. challenge the evidence for inter-group conflict at Nataruk2. They make two arguments—first, that the lesions in three crania are due to soil compression; second, that there is a correlation between body position and age, reflecting different burial traditions. We believe that their interpretation is incorrect on both counts.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    The shaping of human diversity: filters, boundaries and transitions.
    (The Royal Society, 2016-07-05) Mirazón Lahr, Marta; Mirazon Lahr, Mirazon Lahr [0000-0001-5752-5770]
    The evolution of modern humans was a complex process, involving major changes in levels of diversity through time. The fossils and stone tools that record the spatial distribution of our species in the past form the backbone of our evolutionary history, and one that allows us to explore the different processes-cultural and biological-that acted to shape the evolution of different populations in the face of major climate change. Those processes created a complex palimpsest of similarities and differences, with outcomes that were at times accelerated by sharp demographic and geographical fluctuations. The result is that the population ancestral to all modern humans did not look or behave like people alive today. This has generated questions regarding the evolution of human universal characters, as well as the nature and timing of major evolutionary events in the history of Homo sapiens The paucity of African fossils remains a serious stumbling block for exploring some of these issues. However, fossil and archaeological discoveries increasingly clarify important aspects of our past, while breakthroughs from genomics and palaeogenomics have revealed aspects of the demography of Late Quaternary Eurasian hominin groups and their interactions, as well as those between foragers and farmers. This paper explores the nature and timing of key moments in the evolution of human diversity, moments in which population collapse followed by differential expansion of groups set the conditions for transitional periods. Five transitions are identified (i) at the origins of the species, 240-200 ka; (ii) at the time of the first major expansions, 130-100 ka; (iii) during a period of dispersals, 70-50 ka; (iv) across a phase of local/regional structuring of diversity, 45-25 ka; and (v) during a phase of significant extinction of hunter-gatherer diversity and expansion of particular groups, such as farmers and later societies (the Holocene Filter), 15-0 ka.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Inter-group violence among early Holocene hunter-gatherers of West Turkana, Kenya.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2016-01-21) Mirazón Lahr, M; Rivera, F; Power, RK; Mounier, A; Copsey, B; Crivellaro, F; Edung, JE; Maillo Fernandez, JM; Kiarie, C; Lawrence, J; Leakey, A; Mbua, E; Miller, H; Muigai, A; Mukhongo, DM; Van Baelen, A; Wood, R; Schwenninger, J-L; Grün, R; Achyuthan, H; Wilshaw, A; Foley, RA; Wilshaw, Alexis [0000-0001-7459-7784]; Foley, Robert [0000-0003-0479-3039]
    The nature of inter-group relations among prehistoric hunter-gatherers remains disputed, with arguments in favour and against the existence of warfare before the development of sedentary societies. Here we report on a case of inter-group violence towards a group of hunter-gatherers from Nataruk, west of Lake Turkana, which during the late Pleistocene/early Holocene period extended about 30 km beyond its present-day shore. Ten of the twelve articulated skeletons found at Nataruk show evidence of having died violently at the edge of a lagoon, into which some of the bodies fell. The remains from Nataruk are unique, preserved by the particular conditions of the lagoon with no evidence of deliberate burial. They offer a rare glimpse into the life and death of past foraging people, and evidence that warfare was part of the repertoire of inter-group relations among prehistoric hunter-gatherers.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Virtual ancestor reconstruction: Revealing the ancestor of modern humans and Neandertals.
    (Elsevier BV, 2016-02) Mounier, Aurélien; Mirazón Lahr, Marta; Mirazon Lahr, Mirazon Lahr [0000-0001-5752-5770]
    The timing and geographic origin of the common ancestor of modern humans and Neandertals remain controversial. A poor Pleistocene hominin fossil record and the evolutionary complexities introduced by dispersals and regionalisation of lineages have fuelled taxonomic uncertainty, while new ancient genomic data have raised completely new questions. Here, we use maximum likelihood and 3D geometric morphometric methods to predict possible morphologies of the last common ancestor of modern humans and Neandertals from a simplified, fully resolved phylogeny. We describe the fully rendered 3D shapes of the predicted ancestors of humans and Neandertals, and assess their similarity to individual fossils or populations of fossils of Pleistocene age. Our results support models of an Afro-European ancestral population in the Middle Pleistocene (Homo heidelbergensis sensu lato) and further predict an African origin for this ancestral population.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Current Status of the Kenya Capsian.
    (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2016) Wilshaw, Alex; Wilshaw, Alexis [0000-0001-7459-7784]
    East Africa is home to a rich array of stone-tool traditions that span human prehistory. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the region attracted pioneer prehistorians in the early twentieth century, including L. S. B. Leakey, E. J. Wayland and T. P. O'Brien, who created the first cultural framework for East African prehistory during the 1930s. Although aspects of this framework remain relevant today, others have become misunderstood relics of an old classification system that hinders current research. This is particularly evident in the classification of a Later Stone Age (LSA) culture - the Kenya (East African) Aurignacian, later known as Kenya (East African) Capsian. Although this cultural entity was redressed during the 1970s and 1980s and redefined as the Eburran industry, there is still mystique surrounding the current status of the Kenya Capsian, its original scope and definition, the relationship with the Eburran and its position within a modern understanding of the East African LSA. This is largely due to paradigmatic shifts in researcher attitudes, leading to the use of the Eburran as a false proxy. It is necessary now to completely remove the term Kenya Capsian as an indication of similarity among the different LSA technologies. However, there also needs to be less emphasis on the importance of the Eburran and recognition that it is just one example of a multitude of diverse localised LSA industries. This will open the way for future research into the LSA and facilitate our greater understanding of recent prehistory in East Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The genetic prehistory of the New World Arctic.
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2014-08-29) Raghavan, Maanasa; DeGiorgio, Michael; Albrechtsen, Anders; Moltke, Ida; Skoglund, Pontus; Korneliussen, Thorfinn S; Grønnow, Bjarne; Appelt, Martin; Gulløv, Hans Christian; Friesen, T Max; Fitzhugh, William; Malmström, Helena; Rasmussen, Simon; Olsen, Jesper; Melchior, Linea; Fuller, Benjamin T; Fahrni, Simon M; Stafford, Thomas; Grimes, Vaughan; Renouf, MA Priscilla; Cybulski, Jerome; Lynnerup, Niels; Lahr, Marta Mirazon; Britton, Kate; Knecht, Rick; Arneborg, Jette; Metspalu, Mait; Cornejo, Omar E; Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Wang, Yong; Rasmussen, Morten; Raghavan, Vibha; Hansen, Thomas VO; Khusnutdinova, Elza; Pierre, Tracey; Dneprovsky, Kirill; Andreasen, Claus; Lange, Hans; Hayes, M Geoffrey; Coltrain, Joan; Spitsyn, Victor A; Götherström, Anders; Orlando, Ludovic; Kivisild, Toomas; Villems, Richard; Crawford, Michael H; Nielsen, Finn C; Dissing, Jørgen; Heinemeier, Jan; Meldgaard, Morten; Bustamante, Carlos; O'Rourke, Dennis H; Jakobsson, Mattias; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Nielsen, Rasmus; Willerslev, Eske; Raghavan, Maanasa [0000-0003-1997-0739]; Mirazon Lahr, Marta [0000-0001-5752-5770]; Kivisild, Toomas [0000-0002-6297-7808]; Willerslev, Eske [0000-0002-7081-6748]
    The New World Arctic, the last region of the Americas to be populated by humans, has a relatively well-researched archaeology, but an understanding of its genetic history is lacking. We present genome-wide sequence data from ancient and present-day humans from Greenland, Arctic Canada, Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and Siberia. We show that Paleo-Eskimos (~3000 BCE to 1300 CE) represent a migration pulse into the Americas independent of both Native American and Inuit expansions. Furthermore, the genetic continuity characterizing the Paleo-Eskimo period was interrupted by the arrival of a new population, representing the ancestors of present-day Inuit, with evidence of past gene flow between these lineages. Despite periodic abandonment of major Arctic regions, a single Paleo-Eskimo metapopulation likely survived in near-isolation for more than 4000 years, only to vanish around 700 years ago.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Two ancient human genomes reveal Polynesian ancestry among the indigenous Botocudos of Brazil.
    (Elsevier BV, 2014-11-03) Malaspinas, Anna-Sapfo; Lao, Oscar; Schroeder, Hannes; Rasmussen, Morten; Raghavan, Maanasa; Moltke, Ida; Campos, Paula F; Sagredo, Francisca Santana; Rasmussen, Simon; Gonçalves, Vanessa F; Albrechtsen, Anders; Allentoft, Morten E; Johnson, Philip LF; Li, Mingkun; Reis, Silvia; Bernardo, Danilo V; DeGiorgio, Michael; Duggan, Ana T; Bastos, Murilo; Wang, Yong; Stenderup, Jesper; Moreno-Mayar, J Victor; Brunak, Søren; Sicheritz-Ponten, Thomas; Hodges, Emily; Hannon, Gregory J; Orlando, Ludovic; Price, T Douglas; Jensen, Jeffrey D; Nielsen, Rasmus; Heinemeier, Jan; Olsen, Jesper; Rodrigues-Carvalho, Claudia; Lahr, Marta Mirazón; Neves, Walter A; Kayser, Manfred; Higham, Thomas; Stoneking, Mark; Pena, Sergio DJ; Willerslev, Eske; Raghavan, Maanasa [0000-0003-1997-0739]; Hannon, Gregory [0000-0003-4021-3898]; Mirazon Lahr, Marta [0000-0001-5752-5770]; Willerslev, Eske [0000-0002-7081-6748]
    Understanding the peopling of the Americas remains an important and challenging question. Here, we present (14)C dates, and morphological, isotopic and genomic sequence data from two human skulls from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, part of one of the indigenous groups known as 'Botocudos'. We find that their genomic ancestry is Polynesian, with no detectable Native American component. Radiocarbon analysis of the skulls shows that the individuals had died prior to the beginning of the 19th century. Our findings could either represent genomic evidence of Polynesians reaching South America during their Pacific expansion, or European-mediated transport.