Skip to comments.Evidence of Late Pleistocene human colonization of isolated islands beyond Wallace's Line
Posted on 05/04/2020 1:50:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Fossils and stone tools show that hominins made it to Wallacean islands at least one million years ago, including the famous 'Hobbit,' or Homo floresiensis, on the island of Flores. When our own species arrived 45,000 years ago (or perhaps earlier), it is thought to have quickly developed the specialized use of marine habitats, as evidenced by one of the world's earliest fish hooks found in the region..."
This new paper uses stable carbon isotopes measured from fossil human teeth to directly reconstruct the long-term diets of past populations. Although this method has been used to study the diets and environments of African hominins for nearly half a century, it has thus far been scarcely applied to the earliest members of our own species expanding within and beyond Africa. Using the principle 'you are what you eat,' researchers analyzed powdered hominin tooth enamel from 26 individuals dated between 42,000 and 1,000 years ago to explore the types of resources they consumed during tooth formation.
The new paper shows that the earliest human fossil available from the region, excavated from the site of Asitau Kuru on Timor, was indeed reliant on maritime resources, suggesting a well-tuned adaptation to the colonization of coastal areas...
From around 20,000 years ago, however, human diets seem to have switched inland, towards the supposedly impoverished resources of the island forests. Although some individuals maintained the use of coastal habitats, the majority seemingly began to adapt to the populations of small mammals and tropical forest plants in the region. As co-author Mahirta at Universitas Gadjah Mada puts it, "Coastal resources such as shellfish and reef fish are easy to exploit and available year-round, however growing populations likely forced early island occupants to look inland to other resources."
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
The site of Makpan, Alor. Credit: Sue O'Connor
Wallace drew a line and they crossed it?
Of course, this means war!!!
Good article. I wonder, though, if those populations didn’t just move from one food source to another but had those food sources move on them with receding/ advancing coastlines?
Since the food's still there, answer is probably a hard no.
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