The recent re-excavations at Bacho Kiro cave (Bulgaria) by archaeologists from Bulgaria and Germany discovered remains of Homo sapiens dated to ~ 45/ 43,000 calBP (Hublin 2020). Three individuals from the Initial Upper Paleolithic layer and another one (a lovely lady) dating to ~ 37,000 calBP (~ Aurignacian era in Europe) were sequenced (Hajdinjak 2021).
Analysis showed affinity between the IUP horizon Bacho-Kirians (BK-IUP) and quasi-contemporaneous East Asian groups, e.g. the man from Tianyuan cave, China. And this was not the first time ‘eastern affinities’ were noted in Upper Paleolithic Europeans – such a signal had been previously noted in a ~ 35,000 year old sample from Goyet, Belgium (‘Goyet -Q116’) (Yang 2017). The shared affinities between Goyet and Tianyuan did not extend to later (partial) descendants of Goyet (such as El Miron) nor did the affinities involve more recent ancient or modern East Asians.
Were there populations movements from Eastern Asia into Europe, as some in the webosphere have suggested ? To be sure, a model of early (even pre-Toba) ‘southern coastal dispersals’ to the East have figured prominently in anthropological literature, and patterns inferred from modern DNA were suggested to support such a scenario.
However, with direct evidence from ancient DNA, the picture evolved. The paper by Hajdinjak et al found that IUP Bacho Kiro Cave individuals were related to populations that contributed ancestry to the Tianyuan individual in China as well as, to a lesser extent, to the GoyetQ116-1 and Ust’Ishim individuals (all |Z| < 3; Fig. 2d, Supplementary Information 6). This resolves the previously unclear relationship between the GoyetQ116-1 and Tianyuan individuals without the need for gene flow between these two geographically distant individuals. The cumulative evidence has also established that Upper Paleloithic populations in Europe and Siberia carried ‘East Asian’ lineages like Y-hg NO, C, F and mtDNA M, but these became increasingly attenuated by the Holocene.
From Hajdinjak – populations related to the IUP Bacho Kiro Cave individuals disappeared in western Eurasia without leaving a detectable genetic contribution to later populations, as indicated by the fact that later individuals, including BK1653 at Bacho Kiro Cave, were closer to present-day European populations than to present-day Asian populations.
Evidently, IUP diversity in Europe and western Siberia diminished and was supplanted by so-called West Eurasians (with some IUP-related ancestry preserved in the western Europe and Siberia in the East). Campanian ignimbrite ?
The below qpGraph provisionally explores affinities of early ancient Eurasian populations. Our understanding will continue to evolve with more data, however the basic structure of Out-of-African populations is becoming understood.
- Zlaty Kun +/- related groups
- A ‘West Eurasian’ cluster consisting of post-42 kyBP individuals from Europe and likely Western Asia, linked at least in part to the dispersal of Aurignacian, Ahmarian & related industries.
- The ‘IUP’ dispersal, which includes Ust-Ishim, BK-IUP, proto-ENA and a ”pre-Papuan” branch. To speculate, given the distribution of these populations, one wonders if it indeed is a relatively more eastern branch dispersing from ~ Central Asia.
ADD: Brief sketch of putative dispersal paths ~ 45-40,000 bp, plus ANE 30-20,000 BP
Initial Upper Palaeolithic Homo sapiens from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria. Hublin et al 2020.
Initial Upper Palaeolithic humans in Europe had recent Neanderthal ancestry. Hajdinjak et al 2021.
40,000-Year-Old Individual from Asia Provides Insight into Early Population Structure in Eurasia; Yang et al 2017
Genetics and material culture support repeated expansions into
Paleolithic Eurasia from a population hub out of Africa. Vallini et al; 2021
The Initial Upper Paleolithic in Central and East Asia: Blade Technology, Cultural Transmission, and Implications for Human Dispersals. N Zwyns 2021
Microliths in the South Asian rainforest ~45-40 ka: New insights from Fa-Hien Lena Cave, Sri Lanka. O Wedage et al 2021
Population increase and environmental deterioration correspond with microlithic innovations in South Asia ca. 35,000 years ago. Petraglia et al 2009.
Reconstructing the plinian and co-ignimbrite sources of large volcanic eruptions: A novel approach for the Campanian Ignimbrite. Marti et al 2016