Monday, June 3, 2013

Duly Noted

There have been notable papers published on population genetics in Italy (which Maju also analyzes well), on Mesopotamian influences on the Maikop culture in the Caucasus mountains, which was one of the first prehistoric metal age cultures (also here), a big picture view of the spread of uniparental genetic markers in Asia and Europe, East Asia's Y-DNA history, the ancient mtDNA of the Japanese Jomon people (also here), on Balkan genetics and Armenian origins, providing open access to a lengthy study on Indo-European origins (of course, controversial since there is no uniform consensus on the issue), the climate impact of the Toba eruption in Africa, the cause of the Younger DryasMiddle Stone Age Paleoclimate, Tibetian genetics, evidence for colonization across the Wallace line as ancient as 60,000 years ago or earlier, the dating of Acheulean lithic tools in SW Europe, the taxonomy and origins of the Uralic languages, ancient Siberian mtDNA, and ancient Minoan DNA.

Collectively, the story is that the precisions and resolution of our knowledge of population genetics and prehistory is getting finer especially in the critical area of ancient DNA.  Individually, none of these papers announce definitive paradigm shifting results.  But, the source materials for an increasingly empirically backed and nuanced story of human prehistory and ancient history are being assembled and are ready to be synthesized into something more comprehensible than raw data accessible only specialists and intense hobbyists (like prehistory bloggers).  The prospects for resolving alternative hypotheses about key issues in prehistory look increasingly good.

Maju also notes a story I saw in the newspaper and didn't get a chance to blog: the tragic destruction of a Maya pyramid to get road gravel.  People still do stupid stuff motivated by mild greed and great ignorance.

I also have a separate post in progress about the methodological flaws, but useful factual points made in a recent paper on property right and the early Neolithic era.

1 comment:

andrew said...

Maju makes a solid case that Australia was settled by humans by 60kya and that Papuans arrived by 49kya in the above linked post.