Update: 2018-02-03 09:21 PM -0500


Primate Fossils found in Pondaung range


A collection by U Kyaw Tun (UKT) (M.S., I.P.S.T., USA), Daw Khin Wutyi, Daw Thuzar Myint and staff of Tun Institute of Learning (TIL) . Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR 
 - http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

based on:
#1. by Rob Waugh, reporter, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/index.html 120605
#2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrasia_djijidae 130106

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Out of India theory
The Adventurous Primate : Afrasia djijidae :
Evolutionary history
Range and ecology
Homo erectus and H. sapians : the Humans
Denisovan : a subspecies of H. sapian


UKT notes

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Out of India theory

UKT: 130107

The British colonizers specifically, and the Europeans in general always thought that every thing has to come from the West, and they invented now controversial Aryan Invasion Theory.

From northern India, culture, particularly the script for writing the spoken Burmese language spread to southern India, and then into southern Myanmarpré, and finally made its way into the heartland of the Bur-Myan people.

Now there is a finding and a theory that at least a primate that had lived in Myanmarpré 37 million years ago, had taken the journey out of the East and had travelled to the West.

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The Adventurous Primate : Afrasia djijidae

- UKT 170516:

Reading through the world's literature, I was under the impression that my native Myanmarpré, the land of my forefathers, was so backward and undeveloped, that everything had to be imported from abroad. I accuse the British colonialists who had promoted such an idea to justify their robbery and finally their annexation of the Kingdom of Burma in the 19th century. They had made us believed that it was only because of them - the invaders - that we have become civilized. I am now finding out that long time ago when the IE (Indo-European) speakers had infiltrated the area of the subcontinent of India extending into South-East Asia, mostly inhabited by Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) speakers, had followed the same kind of excuse. The militarily conquered people were inferior, and that it was only due to the invaders that the natives had improved !

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrasia_djijidae 161006, 170516

Afrasia djijidae is a fossil primate that lived in Myanmarpré approximately 37 million years ago, during the late middle Eocene. The only species in the genus Afrasia, it was a small primate, estimated to weigh around 100 grams (3.5 oz). Despite the significant geographic distance between them, Afrasia is thought to be closely related to Afrotarsius, an enigmatic fossil found in Libya and Egypt that dates to 38–39 million years ago. [UKT ¶ ]

If this relationship is correct, it suggests that early simians (a related group or clade consisting of monkeys, apes, and humans) dispersed from Asia to Africa during the middle Eocene and would add further support to the hypothesis that the first simians evolved in Asia, not Africa. [UKT ¶ ]

Neither Afrasia nor Afrotarsius, which together form the family Afrotarsiidae, is considered ancestral to living simians, but they are part of a side branch or stem group known as eosimiiforms. Because they did not give rise to the stem simians that are known from the same deposits in Africa, early Asian simians are thought to have dispersed from Asia to Africa more than once prior to the late middle Eocene. Such dispersals from Asia to Africa also were seen around the same time in other mammalian groups, including hystricognathous rodents and anthracotheres.

Afrasia is known from four isolated molar teeth found in the Pondaung Formation of Myanmar. [UKT ¶]

Pondaung Formation of Myanmarpré
  from: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1631068302000209?via=sd 140703
"Abstr: The primate-bearing Pondaung {poän-taún poän-Ña} Formation (northwestern part of central Myanmarpré) is mainly composed of cyclic sequences of sandstones and variegated clays that are divisible into 12 lithofacies and are grouped under seven facies associations. These established facies associations represent the deposition in a fluvio-deltaic environment. The anthropoid primate remains occur in swale-fill sediments, sometimes in carbonate nodules of pedogenetic origin and also, in small crevasse channel deposits of the upper part of the Pondaung Formation. The sedimentary facies associated to these anthropoid primates contribute to the understanding of their morpho-anatomic features. To cite this article: A.N. Soe et al., C. R. Palevol 1 (2002) 153–160."

These teeth are similar to those of Afrotarsius and Eosimiidae, and differ only in details of the chewing surface. For example, the back part of the third lower molar is relatively well-developed. In the Pondaung Formation, Afrasia was part of a diverse primate community that also includes the eosimiid Bahinia and members of the families Amphipithecidae and Sivaladapidae.

The name Afrasia derives from the continental names "Africa" and "Asia", and refers to the occurrence of eosimiiform primates on both continents. The species, A. djijidae, was named in memory of a young girl from Mogaung {mo:kaún:} village in central Myanmarpré. [1]

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Evolutionary history

Afrasia djijidae , so-called because it forms a missing link.

Afrasia djijidae was first described in 2012 on the basis of isolated teeth from the 37 million year old Pondaung Formation, which is close to the village of Nyaungpinle in Myanmar. [1] [3] [UKT ¶ ]

UKT 170304: The age of Pondaung formation has been estimated to be middle to be late Eocene based on stratigraphic evidence or late middle Eocene based on comparison with mammals from North America and Europe. In the research reported below, fission-track age on zircon grains from a tuff bed in the Pondaung formation has helped to clarify the precise age of the fauna: 37.2 ± 1σ Ma. corresponding closely with Eocene boundary. See the downloaded research paper in TIL HT-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- MTakai-PondaungFormation<Ô>
Note: Myanmar researchers who participated in the project:
• Soe Thura Tun, Dept. of Geology, Univ. of Pathein, Pathein
• Aye Ko Aung, Dept. of Geology, Dagon Univ., East Dagon Myothit, Yangon 11422
• Maung Maung, Dept. of Geology, Mandalay Univ., Mandalay

Prior to the discovery of A. djijidae, early Asian simians were typically classified in two families, Eosimiidae and Amphipithecidae. While eosimiids are generally considered the most basal simian clade (a stem group of simians), the phylogenetic placement of amphipithecids is more disputed. Amphipithecids are usually considered to share affinities with either eosimiids or crown simians (those simians that are part of the smallest clade that contains the living simians); the latter view is favored.

Eosimiids were first described from findings in China in 1994 [5] and are still best known there (two genera are now known, Eosimias and Phenacopithecus), but have also been recorded in Pakistan (Phileosimias ) and Myanmar (Bahinia ).[6][7] All species had a small body size and a mix of primitive (ancestral) and derived traits (. The largest eosimiid, Bahinia, is from the Pondaung Formation, the same stratum as Afrasia, and the morphology of its molars bridges the gap between the more primitive molars of Eosimias and the more derived molars of the later Eocene African simians. Afrasia, on the other hand, is more comparable in size to the eosimiids from China. [4]

The upper molars of Afrasia are nearly identical in morphology and size to those of Afrotarsius, [4] an animal known from 38–39 million year old deposits in Libya (species Afrotarsius libycus) [8] and about 30 million year old deposits in Egypt (A. chatrathi). [9][10] [UKT ¶]

Afrotarsius was originally described as a tarsier, but later suggested to be related to primitive simians. [11] Because of their close similarities, Afrasia and Afrotarsius are together placed in the family Afrotarsiidae. [2] A phylogenetic analysis placed Afrasia as a sister group to Afrotarsius, forming the family Afrotarsiidae. Afrotarsiidae was found to be most closely related to Eosimiidae, and unrelated to tarsiers. The clade formed by Afrotarsiidae and Eosimiidae was designated as the infraorder Eosimiiformes by Chaimanee et al. in 2012. Eosimiiformes are the sister group of crown simians. [2] However, the classification of Afrotarsius as a stem simian is not accepted by all researchers, and the phylogenetic claims and their implications rest on only the four molars of Afrasia initially discovered. [3]

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Range and ecology

Afrasia has only been found in the Eocene Pondaung Formation of central Myanmar,[1] a rock unit which has been dated to about 37 million years ago using magnetostratigraphy and fission track dating.[25][26] This places it at the end of the Bartonian stage, near the MiddleLate Eocene boundary.[27][28] Although many tons of sediments in the area have been screened for fossils, Afrasia is still known only from four teeth, suggesting that it was a rare species.[2]

Since fossils were first discovered there in 1916, a rich fossil fauna has been recovered in the Pondaung Formation.[29] In addition to Afrasia, primates found there include
  -- the eosimiid Bahinia;[30]
  -- the amphipithecids Pondaungia,
  -- Ganlea, and
  -- Myanmarpithecus; [31] and
   -- the sivaladapids Paukkaungia and Kyitchaungia. [32]

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article.

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Homo erectus and H. sapians

From: Z. Zorich
http://www.archeology/org/issues/54-1211/ 130107

Fragments of a human skull at Tam Pa Ling Cave in Laos, dated between 46,000 and 63,000 years old, are providing insights into how the first Homo sapiens settled Southeast Asia and later Australia.

UKT: 46,000 - 63,000 years ago would be about 40-60 BBE. (check my calculation). If so, who were the humans in the age of Mahabharatta? Shall we say that they were Homo erectus? -- UKT130108

Archaelogists Fabrice Demeter of the National Museium of Natural History in Paris and Laura Shakelford of the Illinois State Geological Survey analyzed the skull. According to Shakelford, it does not show any evidence that the individual's ancestors interbred with Homo erectus, a hominin species that lived in the are for more than one million years.

The skull itself is small and belonged to a young adult at least 18 years old. No artifacts were found with the bones, but the cave's location, far from the coast, shows that modern humans migrated through the river valleys and into the mountains of Laos as they continued their trek.

UKT: I haven't found much on H. erectus in Myanmar. -- 130107

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From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denisovan 140702

Denisovans or Denisova hominins  are a Paleolithic-era species of the genus Homo or subspecies of Homo sapiens. In March 2010, scientists announced the discovery of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile female who lived about 41,000 years ago, found in the remote Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, a cave which has also been inhabited by Neanderthals and modern humans.[1][2][3] Two teeth and a toe bone belonging to different members of the same population have since been reported.

Analysis of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the finger bone showed it to be genetically distinct from the mtDNAs of Neanderthals and modern humans.[4] Subsequent study of the nuclear genome from this specimen suggests that this group shares a common origin with Neanderthals, that they ranged from Siberia to Southeast Asia, and that they lived among and interbred with the ancestors of some present-day modern humans, with about 3% to 5% of the DNA of Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians deriving from Denisovans.[5][6][7] [UKT ¶]

Other ethnicities, such as the Malays, Polynesians, the Dravidians of India, Burmans, and Mon-Khmer-speaking peoples may be included in this category as well. [UKT ¶]

UKT 140703: It is unfortunate that the writer of the above para has ignored that the "Other ethnicities" are speakers of highly different linguistic groups: Austro-Asiatics and Tibeto-Burmans who uses different sets of vocal muscles to articulate the hyoid bone. Their phonologies are different.

A comparison with the genome of a Neanderthal from the same cave revealed significant local interbreeding, with local Neanderthal DNA representing 17% of the Denisovan genome, while evidence was also detected of interbreeding with an as yet unidentified ancient human lineage.[8] Similar analysis of a toe bone discovered in 2011 is underway,[9] while analysis of DNA from two teeth found in different layers than the finger bone revealed an unexpected degree of mtDNA divergence among Denisovans.[8] In 2013, mitochondrial DNA from a 400,000-year-old hominin femur bone from Spain, which had been seen as either Neanderthal or Homo heidelbergensis, was found to be closer to Denisovan mtDNA than to Neanderthal mtDNA.[10]


Little is known of the precise anatomical features of the Denisovans since the only physical remains discovered thus far are the finger bone, two teeth from which genetic material has been gathered and a toe bone. The single finger bone is unusually broad and robust, well outside the variation seen in modern people. Surprisingly, it belonged to a female, indicating the Denisovans were extremely robust, perhaps similar in build to the Neanderthals. The tooth that has been characterized shares no derived morphological features with Neanderthal or modern humans.[16] An initial morphological characterization of the toe bone led to the suggestion that it may have belonged to a Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid individual, although a critic suggested the morphology was inconclusive. This toe bone is currently undergoing DNA analysis by Pääbo.[9]

Some older finds may or may not belong to the Denisovan line. These includes the skulls from Dali and Maba, and a number of more fragmentary remains from Asia. Asia is not well mapped with regard to human evolution, and the above finds may represent a group of "Asian Neanderthals".

UKT: more in Wikipedida article. 

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UKT notes



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End of TIL file