Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mousterian at Jebel Irhoud: Wherefore Art Thou?

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

So then, what is the timing of our Neandertal and Homo sapien Romeos and Juliets?  How many times and when do they meet in North Africa?  In Europe?  I've put together all the quotes, diagrams, and references I believe are contributing to my current thinking on this topic.  I hope that all the children of the Montagues and Capulets can learn to get along on this fragile planet.

Neanderthal extinction as part of the faunal change in Europe during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3
John R. Stewart
Acta Zoologica Cracoviensa - Series A: Vertebrata, Vol. 50, Numbers 1-2, May 2007, pp. 93-124(32)

"The cold-adapted mammals as a whole, such as the extinct mammoth and extant species like the reindeer and arctic fox, did not retreat from the north as the climate cooled like the Neanderthals."

"... Neaderthals were presumably a warmer-continental adapted species, based on their geographical distribution through time.  Neanderthals seem to have been better-suited to the Mediterranean during the Late Pleistocene than to the more northern parts of Europe."

Partial Genetic Turnover in Neanderthals:  Continuity in the East and Population Replacement in the West
Dalen et al
Molecular Biology and Evolution (2012) 29 (8): 1893-1897

"Our analyses indicate that recent western European neandertals (<48 kyr) constitute a tightly defined group with low mitochondrial genetic variation in comparison with both eastern and older (>48 kyr) European neandertals. Using control region sequences, Bayesian demographic simulations provide higher support for a model of population fragmentation followed by separate demographic trajectories in subpopulations over a null model of a single stable population. The most parsimonious explanation for these results is that of a population turnover in western Europe during early Marine Isotope Stage 3, predating the arrival of anatomically modern humans in the region."

The Neanderthal Genome
Science Online Magazine

Figure from the Neanderthal Genome article:  "At home in Eurasia"

Marnie'e note:  With regard to the southern extent of the Neandertal range, this map may need a little refinement.


Related Posts on this blog:

The Who and When of the Neanderthal Survivors (link)

Ancient Crossings (link)

Related Posts on John Hawks' blog:

Taking the mtDNA pulse of Neandertal populations (link)

Which population in the 1000 Genomes Project samples has the most Neandertal similarity? (link)

Related Media, Ethnomusicology and Archaeological Research:

Grotte Scladina:  Un patrimoine archéologique exceptionnel à découvrir absolument (link)

Cave of Forgotten Dreams [Werner Herzog film about the archaeological research at the Chauvet Cave] (link)

Fliegel Jezerniczky EXPEDITIONS [Rock Art Expeditions and rock art archaeological research] (link)

Vintage Palmwine
Daniel Amponsah[Koo Nimo], Thomas Osai Ampoumah [T. O. Jazz], Kwaa Mensah
Highlife recorded in Ghana in the Bokoor Studios, Ghana
John Collins Recording
2003 Otrabanda Records & Music Distributor (link)
From Amazon (link)

Additional Related Papers and References:

North African genetics through the prism of ADMIXTURE
Luis Aldamiz
Dec, 2011

The Archaeology of Africa:  Food, Metals and Towns (One World Archaeology)
Bassey Andah (Editor), Alex Okpoko (Editor), Thurstan Shaw (Editor) and Paul Sinclair (Editor)

A Coperican Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root
Behar et al
The American Journal of Human Genetics, Volume 90, Issue 4, 675-684, 6 April 2012

The Identity and Timing of the Aterian in Morocco
A. Bouzouggar and R. N. E. Barton
in Modern Origins:  A North African Perspective, Chapter 7
Jean-Jacques Hublin and Shannon P. McPherron, Editors
Springer, 2012

Tracing Past Human Male Movements in Northern/Eastern Africa and Western Eurasia:  New Clues from Y-Chromosomal Haplogroups E-M78 and J-M12
Cruciani et al
Mol Biol Evol24 (6): 1300-1311. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msm049

Ancient watercourses and biogeography of the Sahara explain the peopling of the desert
Drake et al
PNAS 2010

The Civilizations of Africa:  A History to 1800
Christopher Ehret
University of Virginia Press

mtDNA Diversity of Ghana:  a forensic and phylogeographic view
Liane Fendt, Alexander Roeck, Bettina Zimmerman, Martin Bodner, Thorsten Thye, Frank Tschentscher, Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Tanya M. K. Goebel, Peter M Schneider, Walther Parson
Forensic Science International: Genetics

Y-Chromosomal Variation in Sub-Saharan Africa:  Insights Into the History of Niger-Congo Groups
de Filippo et al.
Oxford Journals

Refining the eustatic sea-level curve since the Last Glacial Maximum using far- and intermediate-field sites
Fleming et al
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 163 (1998) 327-342

Fliegel Jezerniczky EXPEDITIONS
(Rock Art Expeditions and Web Site)

The Messak Project and Natural Preservation and Sustainable Tourism (south-western Libya)
Gallinaro et al
Antiquity  Volume 086 Issue 331 March 2012

Modern Human Desert Adaptations:  A Libyan Perspective on the Aterian Complex
E. A. A. Garcea
in Modern Origins:  A North African Perspective, Chapter 9
Jean-Jacques Hublin and Shannon P. McPherron, Editors
Springer, 2012

A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome
Green et al
Science 7 May 2010:
Vol. 328 no. 5979 pp. 710-722
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188021

From Africa to Europe and back:  refugia and range shifts cause high genetic differentiation in the Marbled White butterfly Melanargia galathea
Jan C Habel, Luc Lens, Dennis Roedder and Thomas Schmitt
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:215

Comparative phylogeography of African savannah ungulates
E. D. Lorenzen, R. Heller, H. R. Siegismund
Molecular Ecology, Volume 21, Issue 15, pages 3656-3670, August 2012

Hunter-Gatherer Foraging Strategies in Tropical Grasslands:  Model Building and Testing in the East African Middle and Later Stone Age
Curtis W. Marean
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 16, 189-225 (1997)

The genetic prehistory of southern Africa
Pickrell et al

A propos de quelques gravures rupestres de l'Ajal
Jean-Loïc Le Quellec
Persée, Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 1993, vol. 90, issue 5, pp. 368-376.

North African Populations Carry the Signature of Admixture with Neanderthals
Sánchez-Quinto et al
PLOS ONE, 2012

Spatial and Temporal Variation in the Nature of Pleistocene Pluvial Phase Environments Across North Africa
J. R. Smith
in Modern Origins:  A North African Perspective, Chapter 3
Jean-Jacques Hublin and Shannon P. McPherron, Editors
Springer, 2012

The genetic structure and history of Africans and African Americans
Tishkoff et al
Science, 2009


  1. "Marnie'e note: With regard to the southern extent of the Neandertal range, this map may need a little refinement."

    Specifically, there is ample archaeological record of Neanderthal presence (based on a mix of relics and remains) in the Levant and Arabia, and probably at least as far Southeast as Pakistan (based almost entirely on relics), at some point in time. There is also evidence suggesting a range virtually all of the way to the Denisova cave in North Asia.

    The map may be a reasonable representation of the Neanderthal range ca. 45kya, but this range contracted in the time period betweeen an initial Out of Africa event and the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe tens of thousands of years later.

  2. The Movius Line, based on the distribution of lithic tool relics known in 1948, has often been considered a proxy of the Neanderthal range in Asia, although it does not provide useful guidance on the presence or absence of Neanderthals in Africa, since modern humans and Neanderthals are on the same side of the line.

    1. I see that the term "Movius Line" is a controversial one. See 2010 paper "The Movius Line: the state of the debate" by Stephen J. Lycett and Christopher J. Bae.


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