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Possible Signatures of Hominin Hybridization From the Early Holocene of Southwest China

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Possible Signatures of Hominin Hybridization From the Early Holocene of Southwest China

Darren Curnoe et al. Sci Rep.

Abstract

We have previously described hominin remains with numerous archaic traits from two localities (Maludong and Longlin Cave) in Southwest China dating to the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. If correct, this finding has important implications for understanding the late phases of human evolution. Alternative interpretations have suggested these fossils instead fit within the normal range of variation for early modern humans in East Asia. Here we test this proposition, consider the role of size-shape scaling, and more broadly assess the affinities of the Longlin 1 (LL1) cranium by comparing it to modern human and archaic hominin crania. The shape of LL1 is found to be highly unusual, but on balance shows strongest affinities to early modern humans, lacking obvious similarities to early East Asians specifically. We conclude that a scenario of hybridization with archaic hominins best explains the highly unusual morphology of LL1, possibly even occurring as late as the early Holocene.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Longlin 1 cranium:
(a) anterior view, (b) left lateral view, (c) superior view, and (d) inferior view (Photos taken by the authors).
Figure 2
Figure 2. Scatterplots of PCA object scores:
(a) nine variables, PC1 versus PC2; (b) nine variables, PC3 versus PC4; (c) four variables, PC1 versus PC2; and (d) four variables, PC1 versus PC3 (NB: 95% concentration ellipsis for RMH shown; convex hull for EMH indicated; Key: 1 = LL1, 2 = UC101, 3 = UC103, 4 = LJNG, 5 = HCC, 6 = KEL, 7 = CM1, 8 = PRD3, 9 = PRD4, 10 = OASE 2, 11 = HTO, 12 = SD1, 13 = SD5, 14 = DALI, 15 = SH5, 16 = PETRA & 17 = SANG17; see main text and Table S1 for key to abbreviations).
Figure 3
Figure 3. Neighbor-joining trees from cluster analysis using SH5 as an out-group:
(a) nine variables and (b) four variables (RMH represented by sample means; see main text and Table S1 for key to abbreviations).
Figure 4
Figure 4. Bivariate plots of logged geomean versus logged craniometric variables:
(a) STB, (b) FRC, (c) NPH, (d) OBB, (e) OBH, (f) ZYB, (g) NLH, (h) NLB, and (i) EKB (NB: least squares line of best fit for RMH (unbroken line) and EMH (broken line) shown; Key: 1 = LL1, 2 = UC101, 3 = UC103, 4 = LJNG, 5 = HCC, 6 = KEL, 7 = CM1, 8 = PRD3, 9 = PRD4, 10 = HTO, 11 = SD1, 12 = DALI, 13 = SH5, 14 = PETRA & 15 = SANG17; see main text and Table S1 for key to abbreviations).

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