Left Menu
Development News Edition

Humans migrated to Mongolia about 45,000 years ago

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 17-08-2019 10:19 IST | Created: 17-08-2019 10:19 IST
Humans migrated to Mongolia about 45,000 years ago
Gobi Desert, Mongolia Image Credit: Flickr/Christopher Michel

According to a new study by the University of California, Davis, Stone tools uncovered in Mongolia by an international team of archaeologists indicate that modern humans traveled across the Eurasian steppe about 45,000 years ago.

The date is about 10,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously believed.

Nicolas Zwyns, an associate professor of anthropology and lead author of the study said that the site also points to a new location for where modern humans may have first encountered their mysterious cousins, the now-extinct Denisovans.

Zwyns led excavations from 2011 to 2016 at the Tolbor-16 site along the Tolbor River in the Northern Hangai Mountains between Siberia and northern Mongolia.

The excavations yielded thousands of stone artifacts, with 826 stone artifacts associated with the oldest human occupation at the site. With long and regular blades, the tools resemble those found at other sites in Siberia and Northwest China -- indicating a large-scale dispersal of humans across the region, Zwyns said.

"These objects existed before, in Siberia, but not to such a degree of standardization," Zwyns said. "The most intriguing (aspect) is that they are produced in a complicated yet systematic way -- and that seems to be the signature of a human group that shares a common technical and cultural background."

That technology, known in the region as the Initial Upper Palaeolithic, led the researchers to rule out Neanderthals or Denisovans as the site's occupants. "Although we found no human remains at the site, the dates we obtained match the age of the earliest Homo sapiens found in Siberia," Zwyns said. "After carefully considering other options, we suggest that this change in technology illustrates movements of Homo sapiens in the region."

Their findings were published online in an article in Scientific Reports.

The age of the site -- determined by luminescence dating on the sediment and radiocarbon dating of animal bones found near the tools -- is about 10,000 years earlier than the fossil of a human skullcap from Mongolia, and roughly 15,000 years after modern humans left Africa.

Evidence of soil development (grass and other organic matter) associated with the stone tools suggests that the climate for a period became warmer and wetter, making the normally cold and dry region more hospitable to grazing animals and humans.

The preliminary analysis identifies bone fragments at the site as large (wild cattle or bison) and medium-size bovids (wild sheep, goat) and horses, which frequented the open steppe, forests, and tundra during the Pleistocene -- another sign of human occupation at the site.

The dates for the stone tools also match the age estimates obtained from genetic data for the earliest encounter between Homo sapiens and the Denisovans.

"Although we don't know yet where the meeting happened, it seems that the Denisovans passed along genes that will later help Homo sapiens settling down in high altitude and to survive hypoxia on the Tibetan Plateau," Zwyns said. "From this point of view, the site of Tolbor-16 is an important archaeological link connecting Siberia with Northwest China on a route where Homo sapiens had multiple possibilities to meet local populations such as the Denisovans."

(With inputs from University of California, Davis)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Farm reform bills 'need of 21st century India', says PM; 8 opp MPs suspended from RS, parties step up attack; Govt hikes MSP for 6 rabi crops

The farm reform bills passed by Parliament were the need of 21st century India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Monday, and accused the Opposition of misleading farmers, saying they feel control slipping away, even as a number of p...

Czech media group pledges 200,000 euros to independent Hungary news portal

One of the largest Czech media groups, Economia, has pledged to donate 200,000 euros to a new independent Hungarian website called Telex.hu started by former journalists of website Index, who quit en masse in July citing government pressure...

Minor 'hangs' self to death, father alleges her gangrape: Police

A 16-year-old girl allegedly hanged herself to death in her house in Dholpur district of Rajasthan on Sunday night, with her father alleging that she took the extreme step after being gangraped by two personsThe victims father Bunty, 23, an...

Sebi constitutes technical group on social stock exchange

New Delhi, Sep 21 PTI Sebi on Monday set up a technical group on social stock exchange to develop a framework for onboarding non-profit organisations and for-profit enterprises as well as prescribe disclosure requirements on financials...

Give Feedback