Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

45 ka microblades supports multiple dispersals across northern India to East and SE Asia

Posted by jbmaine on 15 Jul 2013 at 16:15 GMT

This study both increases India microblade dating to 45 ka and provides a stimulating climatological and paleontological argument for the new paradigm of multiple dispersals of Homo sapiens sapiens with Middle Paleolithic and later microblade industries across northern India and beyond.

I suggest archaeogenetic TMRCAs appear to fully support multiple 'northern routes' across Asia and show a remarkable correlation to the new microblade date. TMRCAs predict a first wave dispersal, occurring during MIS 5e/d (130-106 ka), was Northern African-SW Asian Homo sapiens sapiens 'with robust/archaic features' (e.g., Maghreb Levallois Mousterian and Aterian; Nubian Complex; Skhul Tabun-C; Jebel Faya with handaxes) associated with L2'3'4'6 mtDNA and Middle Paleolithic technologies. This predicts the fossil sapiens sapiens with robust features at Zhirendong, South China, minimum ~106 ka, represents an East Asian diffusion of this lineage and the diffusion likely occurred across northern India ~115 ka. [Note. This diffusion may have produced the Levallois Middle Paleolithic at Sihawal I, Middle Son Valley, OSL ~113 ka, and Patpara I and II, no date but below YTT (Shipton, Clarkson, et al 2013); or Jwalapurum Locality 22 (Haslam, Clarkson, et al 2012).]

During MIS 4 it appears that 'modern' Homo sapiens sapiens descendants of L3 out-of-Africa, associated with N M and R-mtDNA and all bearing Middle Paleolithic industries dispersed along three northerly routes across Asia. It appears that N and M took routes north of the Himalayas to East Asia and R took a route south of the Himalayas, with R31-30 its descendants in northern India, TMRCA ~70 ka, and diffusing further into SE Asia (B-mtDNA ~56 ka) and Australia (P-mtDNA ~64 ka). [Note. This diffusion may have produced the Levallois Middle Paleolithic at Jwalapurum Locality 3 above the YTT ash layer (Haslam, Clarkson, et al 2012).]

TMRCAs indicate that during MIS 3c/b N-mtDNA branched N1 in SW Asia ~54 ka, N2 ~44-51 ka (Fernandes, Alshamali, et al 2012), which diffused into Europe, Central Asia and NW India, and N5, which may be autochthonous in India (Maji, Krithika and Vasulu 2008; Palanichamy, Sun, et al 2004), ~37 kya (Behar, van Oven, et al 2012). Note that the Sahariya, northern Madhya Pradesh, have 23%N5-mtDNA (Sharma, Tamang, et al 2012). MIS 3c/b also saw the emergence of U2-mtDNA ~55 ka, which diffused into or out of South Asia as early as U2c’d ~39 ka (Behar, van Oven, et al 2012) and into western Eurasia, e.g., Kostenki 14 fossil DNA (Krause, Briggs, et al 2010) with Eastern Aurignacian industry, ~33-37 cal ka (Hoffecker 2009).

Based on the new OSL dating for initial Upper Paleolithic bladelet industries at Mehtakheri ~45 ka, archaeogenetics predicts that the India microblade industries may have been innovated indigenously by the second-wave-out-of-SW-Asia Mode 3 technology R31-30 descendents or may have been carried in by N2 or U2 peoples arriving from the northwest, or, alternatively, N2 or U2 innovating the industry in India, or some combination thereof.

In sum, this study by Mishra, Chauhan and Singhvi is a major contribution to shifting the paradigm of ‘out-of-Africa/out-of-SW-Asia’ toward multiple dispersals across northern South Asia. I have attempted to show how it fully in accord with the latest archaeogenetics and yields new archaeological and genetic predictions to be further tested.

No competing interests declared.