вторник, 3 марта 2020 г.

Human populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago


In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History's Department of Archaeology, together with international partners, have presented evidence that Middle Palaeolithic tool users were present in India before and after the Toba super-eruption 74,000 years ago. The findings support arguments that Homo sapiens was present in South Asia prior to major waves of human expansion 60,000 years ago, and that populations endured climatic and environmental changes.

Human populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago
Stone tools found at the Dhaba site corresponding with the Toba volcanic super-eruption levels.
Pictured here are diagnostic Middle Palaeolithic core types [Credit: Chris Clarkson]
The Toba super-eruption was one of the largest volcanic events over the last two million years, about 5,000 times larger than Mount St. Helen's eruption in the 1980s. The eruption occurred 74,000 years ago on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was argued to have ushered in a "volcanic winter" lasting six to ten years, leading to a 1,000 year-long cooling of the Earth's surface.


Theories purported that the volcanic eruption would have led to major catastrophes, including the decimation of hominin populations and mammal populations in Asia, and the near extinction of our own species. The few surviving Homo sapiens in Africa were said to have survived by developing sophisticated social, symbolic and economic strategies that enabled them to eventually re-expand and populate Asia 60,000 years ago in a single, rapid wave along the Indian Ocean coastline.

Fieldwork in southern India conducted in 2007 by some of this study's authors challenged these theories, leading to major debates between archaeologists, geneticists and earth scientists about the timing of human dispersals Out of Africa and the impact of the Toba super-eruption on climate and environments. The current study continues the debate, providing evidence that Homo sapiens were present in Asia earlier than expected and that the Toba super-eruption wasn't as apocalyptic as believed.

The Toba volcanic super-eruption and human evolution

The current study reports on a unique 80,000 year-long stratigraphic record from the Dhaba site in northern India's Middle Son Valley. Stone tools uncovered at Dhaba in association with the timing of the Toba event provide strong evidence that Middle Palaeolithic tool-using populations were present in India prior to and after 74,000 years ago. Professor J.N. Pal, principal investigator from the University of Allahabad in India notes that "Although Toba ash was first identified in the Son Valley back in the 1980s, until now we did not have associated archaeological evidence, so the Dhaba site fills in a major chronological gap."

Human populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago
Standing on the Dhaba site, overlooking the Middle Son Valley, India. Note the archaeological
 trench location on the left hand side of the photo [Credit: Christina Neudorf]


Professor Chris Clarkson of the University of Queensland, lead author of the study, adds, "Populations at Dhaba were using stone tools that were similar to the toolkits being used by Homo sapiens in Africa at the same time. The fact that these toolkits did not disappear at the time of the Toba super-eruption or change dramatically soon after indicates that human populations survived the so-called catastrophe and continued to create tools to modify their environments."

This new archaeological evidence supports fossil evidence that humans migrated out of Africa and expanded across Eurasia before 60,000 years ago. It also supports genetic findings that humans interbred with archaic species of hominins, such as Neanderthals, before 60,000 years ago.

Toba, climate change and human resilience

Though the Toba super-eruption was a colossal event, few climatologists and earth scientists continue to support the original formulation of the "volcanic winter" scenario, suggesting that the Earth's cooling was more muted and that Toba may not have actually caused the subsequent glacial period. Recent archaeological evidence in Asia, including the findings unearthed in this study, does not support the theory that hominin populations went extinct on account of the Toba super-eruption.


Instead, archaeological evidence indicates that humans survived and coped with one of the largest volcanic events in human history, demonstrating that small bands of hunter-gatherers were adaptable in the face of environmental change.

Nevertheless, the peoples who lived around Dhaba more than 74,000 years ago do not seem to have significantly contributed to the gene pool of contemporary peoples, suggesting that these hunter-gatherers likely faced a series of challenges to their long-term survival, including the dramatic environmental changes of the following millennia.

In summarizing the wider implications of this study, Professor Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute says, "The archaeological record demonstrates that although humans sometimes show a remarkable level of resilience to challenges, it is also clear that people did not necessarily always prosper over the long term."

Source: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History [February 25, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island


Amateur archaeologists have found the mummified ancient remains of 72 pre-Hispanic 'Guanche' natives in the holiday island of Gran Canaria.The remains, of 62 adults and 10 newborns, were found in the Valley of Guayadequeon on the island of Gran Canaria, part of the Spanish Canary Islands.

Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Credit: Central European News


Archaeologist Veronica Alberto and culture councillor Javier Velasco confirmed the discovery and said that the cave dates back to between the eighth and 10th centuries. It is filled with the remains of the Guanche people, aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands at the time.

Spain colonised the islands between 1402 and 1496 and the Guanches were ethnically and culturally absorbed by the settlers. The Guanches are believed to have migrated to the archipelago around 1,000 BC.

Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Credit: Central European News


Ms Alberto told local media: "There are many burial caves in Gran Canaria, but not many like this one. The discovery of the newborn remains is important as they were not included in previous findings until very recently. We know now they can be found in these types of cave burials."

Local media said that Gran Canaria boasts around 1,200 archaeological sites in total.

Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Credit: Central European News


During the study, experts also found the remains of the burial shrouds traditionally made from animal skin or vegetable fibres.

Ms Alberto said: "We can confirm that all the pre-Hispanic people in the Canary Islands were prepared the same way for the burial ceremony."

Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Credit: Central European News


The cave is located 23 feet (seven metres) from the ground and experts had a hard time climbing up to it, according to reports.

The cave was initially found with the use of a drone by members of the amateur archaeology group 'El Legado', formed by Ayose Himar Gonzalez, Jonay Garcia and Jesus Diaz.

Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Remains of 72 pre-Hispanic Guanche natives found on Gran Canaria island
Credit: Central European News
Mr Gonzalez said: "We were flying a drone and we took some pictures of the cave. It is in a very difficult place to access and you need to climb a cliff to reach the site. People thought the photos were fake because of all the bones there.''

The archaeology enthusiast said that they discovered the cave at the end of June 2019, but they only reported it to the authorities recently out of concerns that it may get vandalised or looted.

Mr Gonzalez said: "The cave should be closed off and preserved with the bones left there to respect the site. We decided to report it because we want the local authorities to preserve and respect it."

Author: Harry Howard | Source: Daily Mail [February 22, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Featured

Полет на параплане с обрыва на мысу Куяльницкого лимана, соленого озера. Экстремальный развлекательный полет проводится для любителей. ...

Popular