Update: 2018-03-15 08:33 PM -0500

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Primate Fossils found in Pondaung range

fossil.htm

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

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Contents of this page

Note: Only some portions of the mentioned references, extensively edited, are given. You'll need a geologic timeline to keep you in perspective. A question to be asked: did geomagnetic reversals effect how the ancient adventurers fared in their distant travels?

The origin of Man
Multiregional evolution (MRE)
Out of Asia theory
Out of Africa theory - and recent revisions
Out of Europe - and a Greek of course!
  Indo-Aryan migration - out of India?
The adventurous primate - now from Myanmarpré
  Pondaung formation of Myanmarpré
  Afrasia djijidae -
  Amphipithecus mogaungensis -
Evolutionary history
Range and ecology
  Homo erectus and H. sapians : the Humans
Denisovan : a subspecies of H. sapian

 

UKT notes

 

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The origin of Man

UKT 180228: Where did the modern humans originate? In which continent, Africa, Asia, or Europe did they evolved? Or, was it only in a single region and spread out to other regions, or in many regions? Moreover, how did they communicate with each other - animal-calls or languages-with-syntax. Remember that just as there are many variations in anatomical features, there are many languages and dialects all because of the use of different sets of muscles in the throat.

First, let's look into Multiregional evolution (MRE) model.

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Multiregional evolution (MRE)

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiregional_origin_of_modern_humans 180228

The multiregional hypothesis, multiregional evolution (MRE), or polycentric hypothesis is a scientific model that provides an alternative explanation to the more widely accepted "Out of Africa" model of monogenesis for the pattern of human evolution.

Multiregional evolution holds that the human [Homo ] species first arose around 2 Ma. (two million years ago) and subsequent human evolution has been within a single, continuous human species. This species encompasses all archaic human forms such as H. erectus and Neanderthals as well as modern forms, and evolved worldwide to the diverse populations of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens).

The hypothesis contends that the mechanism of clinal variation through a model of "Centre and Edge" allowed for the necessary balance between genetic drift, gene flow and selection throughout the Pleistocene, as well as overall evolution as a global species, but while retaining regional differences in certain morphological features. [1] Proponents of multiregionalism point to fossil and genomic data and continuity of archaeological cultures as support for their hypothesis.

The multiregional hypothesis was first proposed in 1984, and then revised in 2003.

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Out of Asia theory

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_Asia_theory 180227

"The Out of Asia theory is a scientific theory which contended that modern humans first arose in Asia. Most anthropologists until the mid 20th century preferred Asia, over Africa, as the continent where the first hominids evolved. [1] The recent African origin of modern humans ("Out of Africa") is the currently preferred theory."

The out of Asia theory later fell into decline, one of the reasons was because Franz Weidenreich merged the Asia hypothesis into the multiregional origin (MRE) of modern humans, extending many other regions into his theory from the Old World with gene flow between various populations which influenced many anthropologists of the time. [17] [18]

The last support for the out of Asia theory was due to the finds of fossils such as the Dryopithecus and Ramapithecus in Eurasia up until the early 1980s. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryopithecus 180228
  ¤ Dryopithecus is a genus of extinct apes that is known from Eurasia during the late Miocene period."
- Google definition
  ¤ Ramapithecus - noun: a fossil anthropoid ape of the Miocene epoch, known from remains found in SW Asia and East Africa, and probably ancestral to the orangutan."
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sivapithecus 180828
 ¤ Sivapithecus (Shiva's Ape) (syn: Ramapithecus): is a genus of extinct apes. Fossil remains of animals now assigned to this genus, dated from 12.2 million years old [1] in the Miocene Epoch, have been found since the 19th century in the Siwalik Hills in the Indian Subcontinent. Any one of the species in this genus may have been the ancestor to the modern orangutans.
UKT 180228: Rama the hero of Ramayana (probably myth based on history) was the human-king who had the support of apes and monkeys - as the story goes - in his battle against the king of Lanka. Shiva-déva, on the other hand, is nothing but an axiomatic entity based on human imagination.

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Out of Africa theory (OOA)

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin_of_modern_humans 180228

The recent African origin of modern humans, also called the "Out of Africa" theory (OOA), recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH), replacement hypothesis, or recent African origin model (RAO), is, in paleoanthropology, the dominant [1] [2] model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens).

The model proposes a "single origin" of Homo sapiens in the taxonomic sense, precluding parallel evolution of traits considered anatomically modern, [3] [4] but not precluding limited admixture between H. sapiens and archaic humans. H. sapiens most likely developed in East Africa between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. The "recent African origin" model proposes that all modern non-African populations are substantially descended from populations of H. sapiens that left Africa after that time.

In the 2010s, studies in population genetics have uncovered evidence of interbreeding of H. sapiens with archaic humans both in Africa and in Eurasia, [17] which means that all modern population groups, both African and non-African (Western Eurasian, East Asian and Australoid) while mostly derived from early H. sapiens to a lesser extent are also descended from regional variants of archaic humans.

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Out of Europe :

News story "First human ancestor came from Europe - not Africa, 7.2 million-yr-old fossils indicate" ,
by Hannah Osborne, reporter, 5/22/17 at 2:00 PM, Newsweek Magazine:
http://www.newsweek.com/first-hominin-europe-east-africa-human-evolution-613494 180301

The first hominin species, a line that eventually leads to humans, may have emerged in Europe 7.2 Ma. (million years ago) and not Africa -- the most widely accepted starting point for our ancestors.

An international team of scientists has presented two studies that suggest the divergence point between chimpanzees and humans took place in the Eastern Mediterranean rather than East Africa. Their findings, published in PLOS ONE, are based on two fossils of the species Graecopithecus freybergi, which were discovered in Greece and Bulgaria and have now been dated to between 7.2 and 7.1 Ma. (million years ago).

Previously, scientists had thought hominins and chimps split between seven and five million years ago, with the first in the hominin line emerging in Africa. But these fossils, scientists say, tell a different story about the onset of human evolution

Both fossils -- a lower jaw and an upper premolar -- were examined using state-of-the-art computer tomography, allowing the scientists to look at their internal structures.

Their findings showed the teeth are fused in a way that is characteristic of early humans, including Ardipithecus and Australopithecus, the latter of which the famous Lucy fossil belongs to. The jawbone also had dental root features that appear to belong to a pre-human rather than to an ancient chimp.

This raises the possibility that the fossils represent the oldest hominin ever discovered and that the “major splits in the hominid family occurred outside Africa,” they wrote.

Researchers say environmental changes caused the divergence and used geological analysis to reconstruct the conditions from the Sahara to the Mediterranean during this time. They showed that the desert would have spread far into Southern Europe, creating a barrier between Africa and the locations where Graecopithecus was found.

The study has been met with skepticism because the vast majority of fossil evidence appears to suggest our ancestors emerged in Africa and migrated outwards.

UKT 180228: As a corollary to early-humans or pre-humans spreading out from Europe, we will have to ask how these early-humans communicate with each other. Did they just use animal-calls or a language with syntax?

Since the modern great apes can use language to communicate with each other and amongst themselves, we have to conclude that early-humans and pre-humans would have language skills:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_ape_language 180301

If - and a big if at that - these early-humans had used a language, would you call whatever they had used an Indo-Aryan language? I must now speculate that speech and script develop side-by-side in a proto-language developing into a full language. This will be our next topic.

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Indo-Aryan Migration : language theory

UKT: 130107, 180226

UKT 180227: Don't get confused with the Indo-Aryan Migration, which concerns the origin of IE (Indo-European linguistic group) speakers. Here we are speaking about the origin of human species.

UKT 130107, 180227:
There are two theories as to the origin of the Aryans, self-supposedly the Perfect Race, coming from the East to West, which opposes the West to East views held by Euro-centric scholars who held that everything that is superior and good has to come from Europe, particularly from Greece.

There is a theory known as Out of India theory aka Indigenous Aryans theory, is a linguistic theory of the origin of the Sanskrit speech. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Aryans 180226

The theory does not take into account the equally important part of language - the script. Sanskrit-speech is now written in Devanagari-script. Instead of speculating the origin of the Devanagari-script, or its forerunner the Nagari-script, I must point out the oldest stone inscriptions found in the Indian subcontinent are those of Emperor Asoka who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashoka 180226.

The Asokan-script (erroneously dubbed the Brahmi-script) is a phonetic script different from the Latin-script which is non-phonetic. The r4c1 consonant-akshara (pronounceable) of Asokan-script is , but what we are finding as its equivalent on the border of Asia and Europe, in the country of Georgia is

თ (U10D7: consonant "Tan"), and ი (U10D8: vowel "In").
The name of the capital of Georgia - the country - is spelt the Bur-Myan თ {ta.}. Then the bombshell: why hadn't the Asokan Brahmi consonant, which has the shape of a bola 'the triangular cross' went along?
It suggests that Bur-Myan script is older than the Asokan Brahmi !

It is Out of Myanmarpré , at least for the script - a part of language.

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.

The Westerners postulated that 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. I vehemently oppose that colonialist-view. It is Out of Myanmarpré , at least for the script - a part of language, an important aspect of culture that has gone to the West and to Britain itself - to the land of Saint George!

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, 180226:

UKT 180226: After reading a news article by Rob Waugh, reporter, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/index.html 120605 , [article no longer available], it dawned on me to write about the Adventurous Primate from the north-western area of Myanmarpré, a part of mainland Asia soon after the continental drifts. India was a part of Africa which broke apart and drifted towards the mainland of Asia forming the Himalayas ranges . extending into Myanmarpré forming the Pondaung-formation.
What I've written as an introduction below is just my opinion with no intention of insulting anyone living and axiomatic.

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.

The modern colonialists had made us believe that it was only because of them - the invaders - that we have became civilized. I am now finding out that long time ago, other groups of IE (Indo-European) speakers had infiltrated the area of the subcontinent of India. At that time the culprits were ancient ones headed by Ponnars {poaN~Na:} worshipping the male axiomatic gods, Vishnu-déva {baiþ~þa.no: nût} and Siva-déva {þi-wa. nût}. These invaders did not marched in or sailed in en masse , but in small groups or individual boats. They were used to crossing deserts and oceans using celestial navigation, and they all wielded superior arms made of iron.

The area of the Indian subcontinent extending into South-East Asia, were mostly inhabited by Tib-Bur (Tibeto-Burman) speakers. They had worshipped female goddesses or Mothers or Mèdaws, such as Mèdaw Thurathati {þu-raþ~þa.ti mèý-tau}, the anthropomorphised human-knowledge, known and yet to be known. She is not a Dévi: not a female déva. She is just a Mother {mèý-tau}, an anthropomorphic form of something such as a country, or even the terrestrial Earth on which the humans and animals live. They were mostly agriculturalists, not used to star-gazing for celestial navigation. They need to know only about weather and seasons when to start growing and begin harvesting their crops. They had no time for military exploits, and when the invaders came, the natives had only bronze-age weapons to fend off the ancient colonialists. And of course they lost and were made into slaves.

The conquerors, because of their military conquests thought highly of themselves, and considered the conquered peoples to be inferior. The intellectuals amongst the conquistadors - the Poannars {poaN~Na:} started out writing "stories" which they claimed to have been heard directly from their gods, [I wonder what kind of sound waves were involved: it could be just their imaginations!].

The interlopers then claimed that it was only because of them that the natives had improved, and had been salvaged from wrong religions! Theirs is the Right-Hand Path, but those which had been practiced by the natives is the Left-Hand Path - just Black Magic.

They changed the Védas of the natives, branding the useful branches of useful knowledge - such as those of astronomy, linguistics, mathematics, and medicine, into supporting "limbs" Vedanga: and promoted the "worship of their gods" into the main "body". They appointed themselves as "specialists" and various kinds of "specialists of sacrificial worship".

They demoted the king of heaven Indra [likened to the father], his consort Soma [likened to be the Mother to bring comfort to the children], and his messenger Agni. They further turned Soma into an intoxicant - a psychedelic drug to delude their followers and awed the conquered peoples

They promoted Vishnu-déva and "humanized" Siva-déva from a fierce storm god bent on destruction and death to be the protector of themselves and their slaves, and assigned everyone to his god-assigned duties thereby created "castes". They married off the {mèý-tau} of the natives as wives of their male gods unwitting making Siva into the most promiscuous male who uses his wives as "sex-slaves". They portrayed Siva as one enjoying perpetually sex with Parvati (a mother-goddess of the natives) in full public view!

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Afrasia djijidae

UKT 180227: The fossil primate mentioned by Rob Waugh, in his news-report, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/index.html 120605 , is A. djijidae .

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrasia_djijidae 130106, 161006, 170516, 180227

Afrasia djijidae is a fossil primate that lived in Myanmarpré approximately 37 Ma. (Million years ago), during the late middle Eocene-epoch in the Paleogenic-period.

Maps: Cenozoic evolution of the central Myanmar drainage system: insights from sediment provenance in the Minbu Sub-Basin by A. Licht, L. Reisberg, C. France-Lanord, Aung'naing Soe, and J-J. Jaege, 2014
- ALichtEtAl-CenozoicMyanDrainage<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> (link chk 180301)

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 Ma. [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 Epoch and would add further support to the hypothesis that the first simians evolved in Asia, not Africa. [UKT ¶ ]

Clade
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clade 180302
"A clade (from Ancient Greek: κλάδος, klados, "branch") is a group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants, and represents a single "branch" on the " tree of life". [1]"

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 Myanmarpré. [UKT ¶]

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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Amphipithecus mogaungensis

UKT 180227:

From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphipithecus 180226

Amphipithecus mogaungensis ("ape-like creature of Mogaung", derived from the Ancient Greek , was a primate that lived in Late Eocene Myanmar. Along with another primate Pondaungia cotteri, both are difficult to categorise within the order Primates. What little is known suggests that they are neither adapiform or omomyid primates, two of the earliest primate groups to appear in the fossil record. Deep mandibles and mandibular molars with low, broad crowns suggest they are both simians, a group that includes monkeys, apes, and humans, though more material is needed for further comparison. The teeth also suggest that these were frugivore primates, with a body mass of 6–10 kilograms (13–22 lb). [1]

In early 1923, notable fossil prospector, Barnum Brown (famed for discovering the first Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton) traveled with his wife Lilian Brown to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. Brown focused his fossil prospecting along areas of Pondaung Sandstone. It was in the outskirts of Mogaung town that he identified a mandible with three teeth (Right). He did not recognise the significance of his find until 14 years later, when Edwin H. Colbert identified the fossil as a new species of primate and the earliest known anthropoid in the world. [2]

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Evolutionary history

UKT 180301: Don't run away with the idea that Afrasia djijidae and Amphipithecus mogaungensis were pre-humans. They were at their best ape-like creatures, and they lived in the late Eocene Epoch more than 30 million years ago when the Himalayas and its extensions into Myanmarpré, such as the Pondaung-Poannya range were being formed. See maps given above: Cenozoic evolution of the central Myanmar drainage system: insights from sediment provenance in the Minbu Sub-Basin by A. Licht, L. Reisberg, C. France-Lanord, Aung'naing Soe, and J-J. Jaege, 2014. The little primates would have lived along the sea-shore.

What can be called humans, from the fragments of a human skull found Tam Pa Ling Cave in Laos, dated between 46,000 and 63,000 years old (not even 1 Ma.) came into existence after many million years. after the little adventurous primates. See Wikipedia:
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tam_Pa_Ling_Cave 180301
"Tam Pa Ling (Cave of the Monkeys) is a cave in the Annamite Mountains in north-eastern Laos. It is situated at the top of Pa Hang Mountain, 1,170 m (3,840 ft) above sea level.

Three hominin fossils have been discovered in the cave: TPL1, a skull belonging to an anatomically modern human; TPL2, a mandible with both modern and archaic traits; and TPL3, a partial mandible with both modern and archaic traits. The three fossils represent three separate individuals and date from around 70,000 to 46,000 years old.[1] The discoveries definitively established that modern humans had migrated to Southeast Asia by at least 60,000 BP.[2][3]

 

 

So it would not be entirely correct to say that Myanmarpré was the place of origin of the humans - that {lu-þa: a.sa. ba.ma-præÑ ka.} is not wholly tenable. Instead of which we should say that Afrasia djijidae , is a missing link in human evolution.

 


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 ¶ ]

Pondaung Formation of Myanmarpré

UKT 170304:

#1. 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 HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- MTakai-PondaungFormation<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> (link chk 180302)
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

#2.  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."

#3. See A new genus and species of Hyænodontid Creodont from the Pondaung Formaion (Eocene-epoch, Myanmarpré), by N. Egi, P. A. Holroyd, T. Tsubamoto, N. Shigehara, M. Takai, Soethura Tun, Aye'ko Aung, and Aung'naing Soe, in the J. of Vertebrate Paleontology 24(2):502–506, June 2004. See downloaded paper of 2004 in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries:
- NEgiEtAl-PondaungForm<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> (link chk 180227)

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

 

UKT 180301: See downloaded notes and pix on Strepsirrhies and Haplorhines, by S. Moore, from
https://learning.hccs.edu/faculty/scotty.../anth2301/anth-2301.../anth-2301-week-9-ste... 180301
in TIL HD-PDF and SD-PDF libraries
- SMoore-AnthroStrepsiHaplo<Ô> / Bkp<Ô> (link chk 180301)

 

 

 

 

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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Denisovans

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]

Anatomy

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".

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