The “Northern Route” that cannot be ignored: Research reveals that early modern humans spread into multi-route patterns.

The origin, evolution and diffusion of early modern humanbeings are hot issues in academic circles. Recently, Gao Xing, a researcher at the Institute of Paleovertebrates and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, worked with colleagues from Germany and the United States to obtain the latest research results on the issue of the “Northern Diffusion Route” of early modern humans. The research was published in Science Bulletin and Public Library of Science – Synthesis.

Reporter: Cui Xueqin.

Unearthed stone work related to the “Northern Diffusion Route”.

“The diffusion of early modern humans was a complex dynamic process. Multiple evidence shows that between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago, early modern humans spread eastwards along Central Asia, Siberia, Mongolia, northwest China, and so on. This spread along the ‘Northern Route’ occurred later than at the beginning of the ‘Southern Route’ (approximately 120,000 to 80,000 years ago), suggesting that early modern humans had different diffusion routes at different times, and that the mechanisms and drivers of diffusion may vary. Li Feng, a team member and researcher at the Institute of Paleovertebrates and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Science Daily.

The “Northern Route” of Modern Human Diffusion

In view of the proliferation of early modern humans, the academic circles have paid more attention to the “southern route” along the Arabian Peninsula, India, Southeast Asia and other regions, while the “Northern Route” of modern human proliferation has less research.

In recent years, with the development of ancient DNA analysis technology, the application of new dyser technology, the discovery of new archaeological materials, more and more scholars began to look to the “northern route” of modern human diffusion.

At present, the archaeological evidence of the early modern human spread to China along the “southern route” is very weak, while the north has found a clear archaeological remains with the characteristics of “western”, indicating the existence of the “northern diffusion route”.

“New research from the ‘Northern Diffusion Route’ suggests that early modern human diffusion is a complex dynamic process, and that gene communication with different populations may be the norm in the diffusion process, reminding scholars that more attention should be paid to regional complexity and the frequency of genetic communication when discussing the origin sorority and evolution of our immediate ancestor, modern humans.” The Gaoxing team said.

Multi-route mode validated by stone product technology.

Li Feng pointed out that stone product technology is an important evidence to demonstrate the early modern human diffusion route. Because of the time overlap with the early modern humans, the unearthing of cultural relics (such as ornaments) characterized by behavior modernity, researchers generally believe that the cultural relics of the early Paleolithic period (IUP) are related to the early period of the Paleolithic period (IUP). Previous studies have based on the general comparison of stone product technologies in different regions of Northeast Asia, and the diffusion routes of such technologies have been proposed, but detailed technical comparisons based on human behavior decision-making are lacking.

In view of this situation, Gao xing and Li Feng team carried out a detailed technical analysis of the stone products at the first site of Ningxia Water Cave Trench site. Ningxia Water Cave Gap Group is an important site group in the late Paleolithic period of China, which plays an important role in the research of the diffusion of stone leaf technology, the interaction of the population in Late Pleistocene in Northeast Asia and ecological adaptation.

The technical research of the stone products unearthed in 1963 at the first site of the water cave trench site regards the technical practice of ancient human beings as the decision-making process of behavior, and the researchers reconstruct the technical knowledge system of ancient humans by making decisions on the behavior of different stone products in the production stage selling stone core preparation, table repair and peeling maintenance, peeling, stone processing, etc. By comparing the stone product stoe technology of the IUP sites related to the Altai region of Siberia, the Outer Baikal region and the northern part of Mongolia, the researchers found that there are certain regional technical characteristics in different regions, but in general the stone producttechnology at the first site of the water cave trench is closer to that of the Altai region of Siberia;

Existing chronological studies have shown that such remains appeared earlier in the Altai region of Siberia, in northern Mongolia, outer Baikal and northern China for approximately the same time, but later than in the Altai region.

Combined with the above evidence, the Gaoxing team suggests that the diffusion of IUP stone leaf technology in Northeast Asia is a multi-route model, not a single-line diffusion model proposed by previous scholars. The study reveals from an archaeological point of view that the “northern diffusion route” of early modern humans was not a single one, but that there may be multiple routes, indicating the complexity of the diffusion of early modern humans.

New topics brought about by weak links.

However, there are still some weak links in the study of the “northern diffusion route” of modern people, which puts forward many new topics for researchers.

Li Feng said that at present, Central Asia, northwest China and other discoveries of the relevant archaeological sites are few, the urgent need for systematic investigation to fill the “northern diffusion route” gaps; The regional geographical environment of the “Northern Diffusion Route” is diverse (woodlands, grasslands, deserts, etc.), and the adaptation of different ecological environments in the process of early modern human diffusion is the focus of future research;

At present, the Gaoxing team is carrying out the research of the “Belt and Road” special project of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, based on the “Belt and Road” along the regional and national and national prehistoric archaeology research, supplementing the basic data of paleoanthropology and archaeology in this region, revealing the history of the “Belt and Road” countries and regions of prehistoric human exchanges and interaction, and enhancing the historical and cultural identity of countries along the Silk Road.