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Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall


Monday, September 19, 2011

Neanderthal in India?

 
Neanderthal range revised
A revised map of Neanderthal distribution Range. Copyright © 2011 by Austin Whittall

After writing my last blog, I wondered if Neanderthals reached India or Pakistan (since their tell-tale B006 and O blood group is found there), and though the maps I have seen and most articles I have read place them in Europe, the Middle East and the Caucasus (see the map that I posted in my first post on this series on "Neanderthals"), I decided to check out if there were any traces of them elsewhere.

Guess what? Yes, they have been found in the Indus river delta area!

A paper by Biagi and Starnini (2011) [1] clearly states this:

The Levalloisian assemblages discovered in Sindh, which display very characteristic features, among which are faceted and "chapeau de gendarme" butts, can be attributed to Middle Paleolithic human activity in the area, most probably related with the south-easternmost spread of Homo neanderthalensis. This species might haver reached the Indian Subcontinent either from the Anatolia-Caucasus-Mesopotamia corridor or across the southern regions of the Arabian Peninsula"[1]

They conjecture that the Indus delta was a geographic barrier.

These "Levalloisian" assemablages are a lithic technology (stone chipping) which is characteristic of Neanderthal stone working or Mousterian tool culture which dates to the Fourth or Würm Glacial Period some 40,000 years ago. Mousterian tools spanned the period between 300,000 and 30,000 BP, and disappeared with the demise of the Neanderthal.

Was the Indus a barrier?

Biagi and Starnini cite Stock, who wrote about "Potential geographic barriers [...] The Himalayas form a natural barrier between India and norterh Asia while the Indian subcontinent is bound on the West by both the Sulaiman Mountain Range and the Indus river delta which was likely comprised of salt flats and marshes during OIS4 [...]"[2]

The OIS4 mentioned in the article is a distinctive warm and cold period called "Oxygen Isotope Stages" (OIS), the OIS 4 - 73,000 to 63,000 years ago was a cold one.But it is likely that Neanderthal crossed the area before OIS4. Or, did not find it such a challenge after all (hadn't they walked out of Africa, crossed the Rhine, the Danube, the Volga and the Bosphorus?).

An expanded Neanderthal territory

Further north, identifiably Neanderthal bones have been found in Uzbekistan (Anghilak cave) [3]. Also in that same region bones were found in the 1930s at Teshik Tash cave in Uzbekistan and the Okladnikov cave in the Altai Mountains region of Siberia, they had not been clearly identified until now, because the fragmented remains were hard to classify. However modernt technology allowed them to be subjected to DNA testing which confirmed that they were Neanderthal remains3.5*350 [4].

By the way, there is a Mongolian "wild man" allegedly living in the Altai Mountains, the Almas... perhaps an extant Neanderthal. A place which is strikingly similar to the Bigfoot habitat in North America or the Southern Andean temperate forest.

Some 33,000 years ago, the Neanderthal also moved north into the Arctic regions of Russia, north of the Urals, and 1,000 km north of their "accepted" territory, is a site at Byzovaya, where their stone tools have been found [5].

So I have re-drawn the map based on these findings (it is shown above, at the beginning of this post).

Out of Asia?

So here we have a Neander who has gone well beyond its formerly accepted territorial boundaries. Who lived in the lower Indus river and in the Altai Mountains as well as northern Russia.

He seemed adapted to survive under harsh conditions. Could he have walked up the Indus, across the Himalayas or, across Siberia towards Beringia and entered America?

Man did. And Neanderthal was so similar to us. Maybe he did it too!

Sources

[1] Paolo biagi and Elisabetta Starnini, (2011). Neanderthals at the South-Easternmost edge: The spread of Levalloisisan Mousterian in the Indian Subcontinent. Published in "Papers in Honour of Viola T. Dobosi", ed. by K. T. Biro & A. Marko, Hungarian National Museum, Digital publication, Budapest, pp. 5-14.
[2] Jay T. Stock and Marta Mirazón Lahr (2007). Cranial diversity in South Asia relative to modern human dispersals and global patterns of human variation
In Petraglia, Allchin, eds. The Evolution and History of Human Populations in South Asia, Springer, Berlin, pp. 245-268
[3] Michelle Glantz, Rustam Suleymanov, Peter Hughes,Angela Schauber, (2003). Anghilak cave, Uzbekistan: documenting Neandertal occupation at the periphery
Antiquity Vol 77:295 March 2003.
[4] Johannes Krause, Ludovic Orlando, David Serre, Bence Viola, Kay Prüfer, Michael P. Richards, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Catherine Hänni, Anatoly P. Derevianko & Svante Pääbo (2007). Neanderthals in central Asia and Siberia Nature 449, 902-904 (18 October 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06193; Published online 30 September 2007
[5] Bruce Bower Stone Age cold case baffles scientists Neandertals, or possibly ancient people, took polar express June 4th, 2011; Vol.179 #12 p. 8.


Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia
2011 International Year of Forests
2011 International Year of Forests Copyright 2009-2011 by Austin Whittall © 

2 comments:

  1. Of course, Neanderthal's aren't the only candidates for wildman/relict hominin reports from Asia and the New World: there are also the enigmatic Denisovans, who are known only from a slight genetic legacy amongst the peoples of southeast Asia and a single finger bone found in a cave in Altai Krai, to consider, and at a stretch, late-surviving erectus-grade hominids.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Andrew, thanks for your comment. Yes, indeed the Denisovians and the "pinky". Apparently older lineage than Neanderthals and whose DNA is in modern human genes.
    I do expect to hear more about them as they are more likely candidates than H. erectus to people America at an early date (long before Neanderthal).
    Austin

    ReplyDelete

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