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Genetic data and radiocarbon dating question Plovers Lake as a Middle Stone Age hominin-bearing site
Univ Johannesburg, Palaeo Res Inst, POB 524, ZA-2006 Auckland Pk, South Africa.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Human Evolution. Univ Johannesburg, Palaeo Res Inst, POB 524, ZA-2006 Auckland Pk, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6456-8055
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Human Evolution. Uppsala University, Science for Life Laboratory, SciLifeLab. Univ Johannesburg, Palaeo Res Inst, POB 524, ZA-2006 Auckland Pk, South Africa.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8160-9621
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Human Evolution.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4349-849x
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Human Evolution, ISSN 0047-2484, E-ISSN 1095-8606, Vol. 131, p. 203-209Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We have sampled five out of the eleven previously identified human specimens and some faunal remains from the Plovers Lake site in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa, for ancient DNA. We were successful in obtaining positive results for three of the human individuals and three 'buffalo' teeth. Based on ages obtained for flowstone and one bovid tooth, the site was interpreted previously as a hominin-bearing Middle Stone Age site of more than 60 000 years old. Our work, however, revealed that not all the material accumulated during the Pleistocene. Instead, the sampled humans and bovids most likely represent a Bantu-speaking Iron Age population (mtDNA haplogroup L3d) and their Nguni cattle. Newly obtained radiocarbon dates confirmed that these remains are probably no older than the last 500 years bp. This study demonstrates the usefulness of inter-disciplinary investigation into the human past, and the depositional and stratigraphic complexities that researchers in the Cradle of Humankind need to contend with before interpreting their assemblages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 131, p. 203-209
Keywords [en]
Plovers lake, Ancient DNA, Hominin-bearing site, South Africa, Middle Stone Age, C14 dating
National Category
Archaeology Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390338DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.03.014ISI: 000472706300014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390338DiVA, id: diva2:1341627
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg FoundationSwedish Research Council, 642-2013-8019Swedish Research Council, 621-2014-5211Göran Gustafsson Foundation for promotion of scientific research at Uppala University and Royal Institute of TechnologyWenner-Gren FoundationsAvailable from: 2019-08-09 Created: 2019-08-09 Last updated: 2019-08-09Bibliographically approved

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Malmström, HelenaSchlebusch, CarinaSvensson, EmmaGünther, TorstenMunters, Arielle R.Coutinho, AlexandraEdlund, HannaJakobsson, Mattias

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