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Title: Hominin variability and population discontinuity in Middle Pleistocene Asia and Europa: the dental evidence
Authors: Martinón-Torres, María
Xing, Song
Wu, Xiujie
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences (IUPPS)
Citation: XVII World UISPP Congress, 2014, p. 999
Abstract: In previous studies we proposed a “sink and source” model where the variability of the fossil hominin samples in Early and Middle Pleistocene Europe were explained as a result of repeated population dispersals, fragmentation, and re-combination of surviving populations inside Europe in response to climatic fluctuations, and also as result of repeated episodes of immigration from Southwest Asia 1-3. “Source” populations would have lived in those parts of southern Europe where hominins could have survived glacial periods. “Sink” populations would have been in those areas that were only suitable for occupation in warm interglacials and often, they would have depended upon “source” populations for recruitment to maintain a stable occupation. When environmental conditions deteriorated, many “sink” populations would have become extinct and/or retreated to the southern refugia where they would have mixed with the resident groups. This pattern of isolation, local extinction and recombination would explain the high morphological variability maintained by European populations throughout the Middle Pleistocene. Recently, the retrieval and analyses of ancient DNA sequences from Denisova (Siberia) or Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca) 4-5 seem to ratify a scenario of complex population interactions within Eurasia including the possibility of hybridization between “paleontological species”. While the European fossil record is relatively wellcharacterized, only recently new specialized studies on old and new dental findings have started to contribute to a more precise picture of human evolution in Asia 6.7. The analysis of the rich dental collections from the Asian Middle Pleistocene such as Zhoukoudian, Hexian, Chaoxian or Panxian Dadong expands the metrical and morphological variation known for the East Asian hominins. Our study warns about the possibility that the Asian hominin variability may have been taxonomically oversimplified. Like in Europe, primitive-derived gradients in Asia are not satisfactorily fitted along a chronological sequence and suggest complex evolutionary scenarios with the coexistence and/or survival of different human lineages. Future research should explore whether the “sink and source” model proposed for Europe can be suitable to explain human evolution in Asia.
Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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