21.11.2017 - 03:51
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Events

Compound Specific Radiocarbon Analysis and its implication for the dating of Upper Palaeolithic sites across Eurasia – Case study of Vindija Cave, Croatia
November 24, 2017 10:00
Speaker: Thibaut Devièse (Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, UK)
Talk at the Department of Evolutionary Genetics

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Location:
Seminar Area Genetics

Abstract:
The period between ~45,000 and 35,000 14C years BP in Europe witnessed the “biocultural” transition from the Middle to early Upper Palaeolithic, when anatomically modern humans coming from Africa displaced Neanderthals across the continent (Mellars 2006; Hublin 2015). Significant questions remain regarding how this transition happened, for example to what extent Neanderthals and modern humans overlapped temporally and spatially, if modern humans or Neanderthals were responsible for various ‘transitional’ early Upper Palaeolithic industries, and when the last Neanderthals disappeared.
Previous dating of Neanderthal remains from Vindija Cave (Croatia) led to the suggestion that Neanderthals survived there as recently as 28,000-29,000 14C years BP (Smith et al., 1999). Subsequent dating of Neanderthal specimens Vi-207 and Vi-208 from level G1 yielded older dates, interpreted as being at least ~32,500 BP, but probably older (Higham et al. 2006).
We have redated the same specimens using a different approach, which is based on the extraction of the amino acid hydroxyproline using preparative high performance liquid chromatography. This method is more efficient than other methods in eliminating modern carbon contamination. We also applied Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) on 383 unidentified bone samples to discover additional hominin remains and we identified one bone as Neanderthal based on its mitochondrial DNA. We also attempted to date some of the early Upper Palaeolithic bone points from stratigraphic units G1, Fd/d+G1, Fd/d, Fd, with mixed success owing to low levels of collagen.
In contrast to previous suggestions, all the new radiocarbon dates show that there is no reason to assume that the Neanderthals in Vindija Cave survived substantially later than at other places in Europe. Rather, they seem to pre-date the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Eastern Europe. These results also illustrate how compound specific radiocarbon analysis, by producing more accurate dates, can contribute improving our understanding of the past.

Higham, T. et al., 2006. Revised direct radiocarbon dating of the Vindija G1 Upper Paleolithic Neandertals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(3), 553–557.
Hublin, J.-J., 2015. The modern human colonization of western Eurasia: when and where? Quaternary science reviews, 118, 194–210.
Mellars, P., 2006. A new radiocarbon revolution and the dispersal of modern humans in Eurasia. Nature, 439(7079), 931–935.
Smith FH, Trinkaus E, Pettitt PB, Karavanic I, Paunovic M. 1999. Direct radiocarbon dates for Vindija G1 and VelikaPeæina Late Pleistocene hominid remains. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 96(12), 281–286.



Contact:
Viola Mittag
phone + 49 (0) 341 3550 500

E-mail: mittag[>>> Please replace the brackets with an AT sign! <<<]eva.mpg.de
Website: http://www.eva.mpg.de/genetics

Sex chromosome evolution in primates: insights from simulations, DNA, and models
January 18, 2018 13:00
Speaker: Ben Evans, Biology Department, Mc Master University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Talk at the Department of Evolutionary Genetics

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Location:
Lecture Hall

Contact:
Anett Pechstein, +49 341 3550-504

E-mail: pechstein[>>> Please replace the brackets with an AT sign! <<<]eva.mpg.de
Website: http://www.eva.mpg.de