A Middle Pleistocene Denisovan molar from the Annamite Chain of northern Laos

Fabrice Demeter, Clément Zanolli, Kira E. Westaway, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Philippe Duringer, Mike W. Morley, Frido Welker, Patrick L. Rüther, Matthew M. Skinner, Hugh McColl, Charleen Gaunitz, Lasse Vinner, Tyler E. Dunn, Jesper V. Olsen, Martin Sikora, Jean Luc Ponche, Eric Suzzoni, Sébastien Frangeul, Quentin Boesch, Pierre Olivier AntoineLei Pan, Song Xing, Jian Xin Zhao, Richard M. Bailey, Souliphane Boualaphane, Phonephanh Sichanthongtip, Daovee Sihanam, Elise Patole-Edoumba, Françoise Aubaile, Françoise Crozier, Nicolas Bourgon, Alexandra Zachwieja, Thonglith Luangkhoth, Viengkeo Souksavatdy, Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy, Enrico Cappellini, Anne Marie Bacon, Jean Jacques Hublin, Eske Willerslev, Laura Shackelford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Pleistocene presence of the genus Homo in continental Southeast Asia is primarily evidenced by a sparse stone tool record and rare human remains. Here we report a Middle Pleistocene hominin specimen from Laos, with the discovery of a molar from the Tam Ngu Hao 2 (Cobra Cave) limestone cave in the Annamite Mountains. The age of the fossil-bearing breccia ranges between 164–131 kyr, based on the Bayesian modelling of luminescence dating of the sedimentary matrix from which it was recovered, U-series dating of an overlying flowstone, and U-series–ESR dating of associated faunal teeth. Analyses of the internal structure of the molar in tandem with palaeoproteomic analyses of the enamel indicate that the tooth derives from a young, likely female, Homo individual. The close morphological affinities with the Xiahe specimen from China indicate that they belong to the same taxon and that Tam Ngu Hao 2 most likely represents a Denisovan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2557
JournalNature communications
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The team dedicates this work to Mr Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy. We thank the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Lao PDR for encouraging and supporting our work, marking almost 20 years of collaboration. We thank the authorities of Xon district, Hua Pan Province and the villagers of Long Gua Pa village for their continuous support of our numerous years of fieldwork. We also thank many curators and colleagues who granted access to the comparative fossil and recent hominin specimens for scanning, as well as the online sharing platforms of the Nespos society ( http://www.nespos.org ) and ESRF Paleontological database ( http://paleo.esrf.eu ). We acknowledge A. Mazurier and R. Macchiarelli (University of Poitiers), A. Bravin, C. Nemoz and P. Tafforeau (ESRF Synchrotron), P. Bayle and F. Santos (University of Bordeaux), O. Kullmer and F. Schrenk (Senckenberg Museum), F. Bernardini and C. Tuniz (ICTP Trieste), J. Braga and J. Dumoncel (University of Toulouse) for analytical support, microtomographic scanning and sharing of material. We gratefully acknowledge support from the CNRS/IN2P3 Computing Center (Lyon - France) for providing computing and data-processing resources needed for this work. Our thanks also go to Christine Lefèvre, Joséphine Lesur and Aurélie Verguin (Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, Anatomie comparée, MNHN, Paris) for access to comparative mammalian collections. Warm thanks to Jeremy Kazan (Taxidermie, MNHN, Paris) for having, as usual, wonderfully casted and reproduced the specimen. M.W.M. thanks George Morgan and Mark Keene at Adelaide Petrographics for expertly making the micromorphology thin sections. This research has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship award (FT180100309) (M.W.M.), the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant (DP170101597) (K.E.W.), and the Australian Research Council (ARC) LEF Grant (LE200100022) (R.J-B.), the Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (no. 795569) (F.W.). Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN) TEMPERA, a project funded by the European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (no. 722606) (E.C., J.V.O., P.R.), the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (no. 948365) (F.W.), the VILLUM FONDEN (no. 17649) (E.C.). European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (no. 819960) (M.M.S.), the Novo Nordisk Foundation (grant number NNF14CC0001) (P.L.R.), the National Geographic Society (NGS-399R-18) (L.S.), the MNHN/Université Paris Diderot/Sorbonne Paris Cité, France (F.D.), the CNRS/Université de Paris, France; Université de Strasbourg, France (A.M.B.). Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany (A.M.B.) and the Sodipram company (La Compagnie du Lit), France (F.D.).

Funding Information:
The team dedicates this work to Mr Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy. We thank the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Lao PDR for encouraging and supporting our work, marking almost 20 years of collaboration. We thank the authorities of Xon district, Hua Pan Province and the villagers of Long Gua Pa village for their continuous support of our numerous years of fieldwork. We also thank many curators and colleagues who granted access to the comparative fossil and recent hominin specimens for scanning, as well as the online sharing platforms of the Nespos society (http://www.nespos.org) and ESRF Paleontological database (http://paleo.esrf.eu). We acknowledge A. Mazurier and R. Macchiarelli (University of Poitiers), A. Bravin, C. Nemoz and P. Tafforeau (ESRF Synchrotron), P. Bayle and F. Santos (University of Bordeaux), O. Kullmer and F. Schrenk (Senckenberg Museum), F. Bernardini and C. Tuniz (ICTP Trieste), J. Braga and J. Dumoncel (University of Toulouse) for analytical support, microtomographic scanning and sharing of material. We gratefully acknowledge support from the CNRS/IN2P3 Computing Center (Lyon - France) for providing computing and data-processing resources needed for this work. Our thanks also go to Christine Lefèvre, Joséphine Lesur and Aurélie Verguin (Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, Anatomie comparée, MNHN, Paris) for access to comparative mammalian collections. Warm thanks to Jeremy Kazan (Taxidermie, MNHN, Paris) for having, as usual, wonderfully casted and reproduced the specimen. M.W.M. thanks George Morgan and Mark Keene at Adelaide Petrographics for expertly making the micromorphology thin sections. This research has been funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship award (FT180100309) (M.W.M.), the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant (DP170101597) (K.E.W.), and the Australian Research Council (ARC) LEF Grant (LE200100022) (R.J-B.), the Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellowship (no. 795569) (F.W.). Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN) TEMPERA, a project funded by the European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (no. 722606) (E.C., J.V.O., P.R.), the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (no. 948365) (F.W.), the VILLUM FONDEN (no. 17649) (E.C.). European Union’s Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 (no. 819960) (M.M.S.), the Novo Nordisk Foundation (grant number NNF14CC0001) (P.L.R.), the National Geographic Society (NGS-399R-18) (L.S.), the MNHN/Université Paris Diderot/Sorbonne Paris Cité, France (F.D.), the CNRS/Université de Paris, France; Université de Strasbourg, France (A.M.B.). Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany (A.M.B.) and the Sodipram company (La Compagnie du Lit), France (F.D.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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