Did Proto-Aurignacian trigger Neanderthal extinction?

Tooth confirms that Proto-Aurignacian toolmakers were modern humans

A new study has confirmed that a lower deciduous (‘milk tooth’) incisor from Riparo Bombrini is from a modern human, based on its morphology. An upper deciduous incisor from Grotta di Fumane is also modern, based on the extraction of ancient mitochondrial DNA from it. Both sites are associated with the Proto-Aurignacian culture and confirm it to be a modern human rather than Neanderthal culture. The sites are around 41,000 to 39,000 years old. Continue reading

Evidence of interbreeding between archaic and modern humans – or just highly diverse morphology?

50,000-year-old Tam Pa Ling lower jawbone is a mosaic of archaic and modern features

Tam Pa Ling (‘Cave of the Monkeys’) is a cave site in Huà Pan Province, Laos. A fully-modern partial human skull (TPL1) was recovered in December 2009, followed a year later by a complete human lower jawbone (TPL2). The upper jawbone of TPL1 does not match with TPL2, so the two represent different individuals. The fossils are estimated to be from 46,000 to 63,000 years old, establishing an early presence of modern humans in Southeast Asia. Continue reading