The Northern Route for Human dispersal in Central and Northeast Asia: New evidence from the site of Tolbor-16, Mongolia

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Nicolas Zwyns, Cleantha H Paine, Bolorbat Tsedendorj, Sahra Talamo, Kathryn E Fitzsimmons, Angaragdulguun Gantumur, Lkhundev Guunii, Odsuren Davakhuu, Damien Flas, Tamara Dogandžić, Nina Doerschner, Frido Welker, J Christopher Gillam, Joshua B Noyer, Roshanne S Bakhtiary, Aurora F Allshouse, Kevin N Smith, Arina M Khatsenovich, Evgeny P Rybin, Gunchinsuren Byambaa & 1 others Jean-Jacques Hublin

The fossil record suggests that at least two major human dispersals occurred across the Eurasian steppe during the Late Pleistocene. Neanderthals and Modern Humans moved eastward into Central Asia, a region intermittently occupied by the enigmatic Denisovans. Genetic data indicates that the Denisovans interbred with Neanderthals near the Altai Mountains (South Siberia) but where and when they met H. sapiens is yet to be determined. Here we present archaeological evidence that document the timing and environmental context of a third long-distance population movement in Central Asia, during a temperate climatic event around 45,000 years ago. The early occurrence of the Initial Upper Palaeolithic, a techno-complex whose sudden appearance coincides with the first occurrence of H. sapiens in the Eurasian steppes, establishes an essential archaeological link between the Siberian Altai and Northwestern China . Such connection between regions provides empirical ground to discuss contacts between local and exogenous populations in Central and Northeast Asia during the Late Pleistocene.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)11759
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2019

ID: 225951476