Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2019

Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave

Abstract

Denisova Cave is a key site in understanding the complex relationships between hominin groups inhabiting Eurasia over the last 300,000 years. DNA evidence has shown the presence of a hitherto unknown hominin: the “Denisovans”. High coverage genomes from Neanderthal and Denisovan fossils found at the cave provide evidence for mixture between the two groups. Determining the age of these fossils is important if we are to understand the nature of hominin interaction, as well as aspects of their cultural and subsistence adaptation. We obtained 50 new radiocarbon dates from the site covering the end of the Middle and start of the Upper Palaeolithic periods. We used a Bayesian age modelling approach combining chronometric (radiocarbon and optical ages), stratigraphic and genetic (separation times estimated from deeply-sequenced genomes) data. Our age estimates provide robust estimates for fossils in the site. Between ~140–110000 years ago both Neanderthals and Denisovans overlapped. Denisova 11, the direct offspring of a Denisovan and a Neanderthal, falls just after this interval, ~110-90000 years ago. The Denisova 3 phalanx predates the radiocarbon limit at 56,400–67,600 years ago. Dates of pierced tooth ornaments and bone points from the upper layers yielded the earliest evidence for the production of such artefacts in Eurasia, at c. 48–45,000 years ago. Based on present archaeological evidence, these artefacts may have been produced by Denisovan people. Whether anatomically modern humans (AMH) were involved is not possible to determine at present because their remains have not yet been identified in the Altai region.
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Dates and versions

hal-03207785 , version 1 (26-04-2021)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03207785 , version 1

Cite

Thomas Higham, Katerina Douka, Viviane Slon, Zenobia Jacobs, Christopher Ramsey, et al.. Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave. 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Mar 2019, Cleveland, United States. pp.103. ⟨hal-03207785⟩
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