Date:

Siberian Neanderthals originated from various European populations

At least two different groups of Neanderthals lived in Southern Siberia and an international team of researchers including scientists from FAU have now proven that one of these groups migrated from Eastern Europe.

The researchers have now published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

- Advertisement -

Neanderthals were widespread in Europe and also migrated to Southern Siberia, but the origins of these Siberian Neanderthals and when they migrated was not known.

An international team of researchers including archaeologist Thorsten Uthmeier, professor of Prehistory and Protohistory at FAU, have now examined tools found in the Chagyrskaya cave in the Altai mountains in Russia in order to find the answer.

Parallels to sites in Central and Eastern Europe

The site has been excavated since 2019 as part of a DFG research project in conjunction with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of the Sciences in Novosibirsk. In addition to stone tools and bones from hunting remains, two main find layers yielded numerous Neanderthal fossils. After discovering that the stone tools did not resemble any of the tools from groups living in the Altai during the same period, the team searched for comparable finds in a larger radius.

- Advertisement -
Typical tool from the central and eastern European Micoquien from the Sesselfelsgrotte cave. The tool is a ‘Keilmesser’ (bifacially-worked knife) made of grey Jura chert. The image shows the top and underside of the tool. The extremely sharp working edge is shown at the centre of the image and the blunt ‘handle’ is in the lower section. (Image: FAU/W. Weißmüller)

Geometric morphological analyses of 3D models of scanned tools showed that the stone tools found in the Chagyrskaya cave were very similar to artefacts from the Micoquien, which is the name given to the corresponding stone tool industry in Central and Eastern Europe. The comparative scans originate among others from find sites in Bavaria including FAU’s own Sesselfelsgrotte cave, in which most of the artefacts used in the comparison were found.

The researchers were able to reconstruct the route of migration of the Siberian Neanderthals using DNA analyses of Neanderthal bones and sediments from the Chagyrskaya cave. The route led the groups during the course of several generations via Croatia and the North Caucasus to the Altai.

Several groups of Neanderthals migrated to Siberia

The DNA analyses also showed that the Neanderthals from the Chagyrskaya cave differ significantly in terms of their DNA from a second Altai group found in the Denisova cave. This discovery fits with the observation that the Denisova Neanderthals were apparently not familiar with tools from the Micoquien. The research team therefore presumes that several groups of Neanderthals migrated to Siberia.

The interdisciplinary examinations of the Neanderthals found in the Chagyrskaya cave, in which Bavarian find sites investigated by FAU play an important role, clearly show that the wave of migration of groups of this species of human 60,000 years ago originated in Central and Eastern Europe.

At the same time, the researchers from Novosibirsk led by Professor Ksenia Kolobova and from FAU found rare evidence that artefacts are culturally informative indicators of population movements.

FAU

Header Image – View of the entrance of the Chagyrskaya cave above the Charysh river – Credit :  K. Kolobova/Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the RAS

 

- Advertisement -
spot_img
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
spot_img
spot_img

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

Stone box containing rare ceremonial offerings discovered at Tlatelolco

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a stone box containing ceremonial offerings during excavations of Temple "I", also known as the Great Basement, at the Tlatelolco archaeological zone.

Excavation uncovers traces of the first bishop’s palace at Merseburg Cathedral Hill

Archaeologists from the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) Saxony-Anhalt have uncovered traces of the first bishop’s palace at the southern end of the Merseburg Cathedral Hill in Merseburg, Germany.

BU archaeologists uncover Iron Age victim of human sacrifice

Archaeologists from Bournemouth University have uncovered an Iron Age victim of human sacrifice in Dorset, England.

Archaeologists find ancient papyri with correspondence made by Roman centurions

Archaeologists from the University of Wrocław have uncovered ancient papyri that contains the correspondence of Roman centurions who were stationed in Egypt.

Study indicates that Firth promontory could be an ancient crannog

A study by students from the University of the Highlands and Islands has revealed that a promontory in the Loch of Wasdale in Firth, Orkney, could be the remains of an ancient crannog.

Archaeologists identify the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II

Archaeologists from Sorbonne University have identified the original sarcophagus of Ramesses II, otherwise known as Ramesses the Great.

Archaeologists find missing head of Deva from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom

Archaeologists from Cambodia’s national heritage authority (APSARA) have discovered the long-lost missing head of a Deva statue from the Victory Gate of Angkor Thom.

Archaeologists search crash site of WWII B-17 for lost pilot

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology are excavating the crash site of a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress in an English woodland.