Publications by authors named "H Valladas"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

New electron spin resonance (ESR) ages from Geißenklösterle Cave: A chronological study of the Middle and early Upper Paleolithic layers.

J Hum Evol 2019 08 1;133:133-145. Epub 2019 Jul 1.

Tübingen/Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology, University of Tübingen, Sigwartstraβe 10, 72074, Tübingen, Germany; Abteilung Ältere Urgeschichte und Quartärökologie, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, University of Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, 72070, Tübingen, Germany.

Geißenklösterle Cave (Germany) is one of the most important Paleolithic sites in Europe, as it is characterized by human occupation during the Middle and early Upper Paleolithic. Aurignacian layers prior to 37-38 ka cal BP feature both musical and figurative art objects that are linked to the early arrival in Europe of Homo sapiens. Middle Paleolithic layers yielded lithic artifacts attributed to Homo neanderthalensis. Since human occupation at the site is attributed to both Neanderthals and modern humans, chronology is essential to clarify the issues of Neanderthal disappearance, modern human expansion in Europe, and the origin of the Aurignacian in Western Europe. Electron spin resonance (ESR) dating was performed on fossil tooth enamel collected from the Middle Paleolithic layers, which are beyond the radiocarbon dating range, and from the nearly sterile 'transitional' geological horizon (GH) 17 and the lower Aurignacian deposits, to cross-check ESR ages with previous radiocarbon, thermoluminescence and ESR age results. The Middle Paleolithic layers were dated between 94 ± 10 ka (GH 21) and 55 ± 6 ka (GH 18) by ESR on tooth enamel. Mean ages for GH 17, at 46 ± 3 ka, and for the lower Aurignacian layers, at 37 ± 3 ka, are in agreement with previous dating results, thus supporting the reliability of ESR chronology for the base of the sequence where dating comparisons are not possible. These results suggest that Neanderthals occupied the site from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 to the second half of MIS 3 and confirm the antiquity of early Aurignacian deposits. The presence of an almost sterile layer that separates Middle and Upper Paleolithic occupations could be related to the abandonment of the site by Neanderthals, possibly during Heinrich Stadial 5 (ca. 49-47 ka), thus before the arrival of H. sapiens in the area around 42 ka cal BP. These dates for the Middle Paleolithic of the Swabian Jura represent an important contribution to the prehistory of the region, where nearly all of the excavations were conducted decades ago and prior to the development of reliable radiometric dating beyond the range of radiocarbon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.05.014DOI Listing
August 2019

Response to Comment on "The earliest modern humans outside Africa".

Science 2018 10;362(6413)

Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel 3498838, Israel.

Our original claim, based on three independent numerical dating methods, of an age of ~185,000 years for the Misliya-1 modern human hemi-maxilla from Mount Carmel, Israel, is little affected by discounting uranium-series dating of adhering crusts. It confirms a much earlier out-of-Africa expansion than previously suggested by the considerably younger (90,000 to 120,000 years) Skhul/Qafzeh hominins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aat8964DOI Listing
October 2018

Corrigendum to "Dating the Middle Palaeolithic deposits of La Quina Amont (Charente, France) using luminescence methods" [Journal of Human Evolution 109 (2017) 30-45].

J Hum Evol 2018 Nov 6;124:140-141. Epub 2018 Sep 6.

IRAMAT-CRP2A, UMR 5060 CNRS - Université Bordeaux Montaigne - Esplanade des Antilles, 33600, Pessac, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.05.003DOI Listing
November 2018

The earliest modern humans outside Africa.

Science 2018 Jan;359(6374):456-459

Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa, Mount Carmel 3498838, Israel.

To date, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa are dated to around 90,000 to 120,000 years ago at the Levantine sites of Skhul and Qafzeh. A maxilla and associated dentition recently discovered at Misliya Cave, Israel, was dated to 177,000 to 194,000 years ago, suggesting that members of the clade left Africa earlier than previously thought. This finding changes our view on modern human dispersal and is consistent with recent genetic studies, which have posited the possibility of an earlier dispersal of around 220,000 years ago. The Misliya maxilla is associated with full-fledged Levallois technology in the Levant, suggesting that the emergence of this technology is linked to the appearance of in the region, as has been documented in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aap8369DOI Listing
January 2018

Dating the Middle Paleolithic deposits of La Quina Amont (Charente, France) using luminescence methods.

J Hum Evol 2017 08 20;109:30-45. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

IRAMAT-CRP2A, UMR 5060 CNRS - Université Bordeaux Montaigne - Esplanade des Antilles, 33600, Pessac Cedex, France.

The site of La Quina Amont, located in the Charente region, is one of the most important sites in southwestern France for studying major changes in human behaviors from the Middle Paleolithic (MP) to the Early Upper Paleolithic (EUP). Extensively excavated over the past 50 years, numerous dating studies have been focused on the Upper Paleolithic deposits using radiocarbon on bone collagen and thermoluminescence (TL) on heated flints; however, the Mousterian levels remain undated due to the scarcity of suitable materials. Our investigations aimed to provide for the first time a chronological framework for the site using luminescence dating methods on different minerals contained in the sediments. Coarse grains of quartz were dated using the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) technique, and polymineral fine grains were dated using both infrared (IRSL) and post-infrared (pIR-IRSL) stimulated luminescence signals. OSL, IRSL and pIR-IRSL results were combined with available TL and radiocarbon data sets to propose a chronology for the site. The agreement between these methods provides key insights into the sedimentological processes involved in the site formation and into the chronology of the human occupations. In particular, it shows that the sequence spans almost ∼20,000 years (20 ka). Moreover, the new chronological framework suggests that the makers of the Quina lithic technocomplex (LTC), who were reindeer hunters, inhabited the site from the end of marine isotope stage (MIS) 4 to the beginning of MIS 3. We also show that Levallois and Discoidal industries occurred successively under temperate paleoclimatic conditions, during MIS 3 but not after ∼40 ka. Finally, we compare the Quina LTC dataset with other sites in southern France in order to shed light upon the variability in Mousterian industries of this region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.05.002DOI Listing
August 2017

The earliest modern Homo sapiens in China?

J Hum Evol 2016 12 30;101:101-104. Epub 2016 Aug 30.

Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2016.07.008DOI Listing
December 2016

A high-precision chronological model for the decorated Upper Paleolithic cave of Chauvet-Pont d'Arc, Ardèche, France.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016 Apr 11;113(17):4670-5. Epub 2016 Apr 11.

Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Laboratoire de la Préhistoire à l'Actuel: Culture, Environnement et Anthropologie, UMR 5199, Université Bordeaux, 33615 Pessac, France.

Radiocarbon dates for the ancient drawings in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave revealed ages much older than expected. These early ages and nature of this Paleolithic art make this United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) site indisputably unique. A large, multidisciplinary dating program has recently mapped the anthropological evolution associated with the cave. More than 350 dates (by (14)C, U-Th, TL and (36)Cl) were obtained over the last 15 y. They include 259 radiocarbon dates, mainly related to the rock art and human activity in the cave. We present here more than 80 previously unpublished dates. All of the dates were integrated into a high-precision Bayesian model based on archaeological evidence to securely reconstruct the complete history of the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave on an absolute timescale. It shows that there were two distinct periods of human activity in the cave, one from 37 to 33,500 y ago, and the other from 31 to 28,000 y ago. Cave bears also took refuge in the cave until 33,000 y ago.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523158113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4855545PMC
April 2016

A 36,000-Year-Old Volcanic Eruption Depicted in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave (Ardèche, France)?

PLoS One 2016 8;11(1):e0146621. Epub 2016 Jan 8.

Laboratoire PACEA, UMR 5199, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, Pessac, France.

Among the paintings and engravings found in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave (Ardèche, France), several peculiar spray-shape signs have been previously described in the Megaloceros Gallery. Here we document the occurrence of strombolian volcanic activity located 35 km northwest of the cave, and visible from the hills above the cave entrance. The volcanic eruptions were dated, using 40Ar/39Ar, between 29 ± 10 ka and 35 ± 8 ka (2σ), which overlaps with the 14C AMS and thermoluminescence ages of the first Aurignacian occupations of the cave in the Megaloceros Gallery. Our work provides the first evidence of an intense volcanic activity between 40 and 30 ka in the Bas-Vivarais region, and it is very likely that Humans living in the Ardèche river area witnessed one or several eruptions. We propose that the spray-shape signs found in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave could be the oldest known depiction of a volcanic eruption, predating by more than 34 ka the description by Pliny the Younger of the Vesuvius eruption (AD 79) and by 28 ka the Çatalhöyük mural discovered in central Turkey.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0146621PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4706433PMC
July 2016

Dating the Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition in the Levant: a view from Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel.

J Hum Evol 2013 Nov 12;65(5):585-93. Epub 2013 Sep 12.

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS UVSQ, Bât. 12, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France. Electronic address:

The transition from the Lower to the Middle Paleolithic in the Levant is a crucial event in human evolution, since it may involve the arrival of a new human population. In the current study, we present thermoluminescence (TL) dates obtained from 32 burnt flints retrieved from the late Lower Paleolithic (Acheulo-Yabrudian) and Early Middle Paleolithic (Mousterian) layers of Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel. Early Middle Paleolithic industries rich in Levallois and laminar products were assigned mean ages ranging from ~250 to ~160 ka (thousands of years ago), suggesting a production of this industry during MIS 7 and the early part of MIS 6. The mean ages obtained for the samples associated with the Acheulo-Yabrudian (strengthened by an isochron analysis) indicate a production of this cultural complex ~250 ka ago, at the end of MIS 8. According to the Misliya TL dates, the transition from the Lower to the Middle Paleolithic in the site took place at the limit MIS 8/7 or during the early part of MIS 7. The dates, together with the pronounced differences in lithic technology strongly suggest the arrival of a new population during this period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2013.07.005DOI Listing
November 2013

Context and dating of Aurignacian vulvar representations from Abri Castanet, France.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 May 14;109(22):8450-5. Epub 2012 May 14.

Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA.

We report here on the 2007 discovery, in perfect archaeological context, of part of the engraved and ocre-stained undersurface of the collapsed rockshelter ceiling from Abri Castanet, Dordogne, France. The decorated surface of the 1.5-t roof-collapse block was in direct contact with the exposed archaeological surface onto which it fell. Because there was no sedimentation between the engraved surface and the archaeological layer upon which it collapsed, it is clear that the Early Aurignacian occupants of the shelter were the authors of the ceiling imagery. This discovery contributes an important dimension to our understanding of the earliest graphic representation in southwestern France, almost all of which was discovered before modern methods of archaeological excavation and analysis. Comparison of the dates for the Castanet ceiling and those directly obtained from the Chauvet paintings reveal that the "vulvar" representations from southwestern France are as old or older than the very different wall images from Chauvet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1119663109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365179PMC
May 2012

The oldest anatomically modern humans from far southeast Europe: direct dating, culture and behavior.

PLoS One 2011 17;6(6):e20834. Epub 2011 Jun 17.

Laboratoire Dynamique de l'Evolution Humaine/UPR 2147, CNRS, Paris, France.

Background: Anatomically Modern Humans (AMHs) are known to have spread across Europe during the period coinciding with the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. Whereas their dispersal into Western Europe is relatively well established, evidence of an early settlement of Eastern Europe by modern humans are comparatively scarce.

Methodology/principal Finding: Based on a multidisciplinary approach for the study of human and faunal remains, we describe here the oldest AMH remains from the extreme southeast Europe, in conjunction with their associated cultural and paleoecological background. We applied taxonomy, paleoecology, and taphonomy combined with geomorphology, stratigraphy, archeology and radiocarbon dating. More than 160 human bone remains have been discovered. They originate from a well documented Upper Paleolithic archeological layer (Gravettian cultural tradition) from the site of Buran-Kaya III located in Crimea (Ukraine). The combination of non-metric dental traits and the morphology of the occipital bones allow us to attribute the human remains to Anatomically Modern Humans. A set of human and faunal remains from this layer has been radiocarbon dated by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. The direct-dating results of human bone establish a secure presence of AMHs at 31,900+240/-220 BP in this region. They are the oldest direct evidence of the presence of AMHs in a well documented archeological context. Based on taphonomical observations (cut marks and distribution of skeletal elements), they represent the oldest Upper Paleolithic modern humans from Eastern Europe, showing post-mortem treatment of the dead as well.

Conclusion/significance: These findings are essential for the debate on the spread of modern humans in Europe during the Upper Paleolithic, as well as their cultural behaviors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0020834PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117838PMC
November 2011

Dating the demise: neandertal extinction and the establishment of modern humans in the southern Caucasus.

J Hum Evol 2008 Nov 18;55(5):817-33. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

Department of Anthropology, 354 Mansfield Road, Unit 2176, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-2176, USA.

This paper considers the recent radiometric dating (14C-AMS, TL, ESR) of 76 late Middle and early Upper Paleolithic samples from Ortvale Klde Rockshelter, located in the Republic of Georgia. We present a critical evaluation of each date based on its stratigraphic and archaeological context, its pretreatment and contamination history, and its resulting accuracy and precision, the goal being to establish a sound chronology for the site. Only by systematically identifying aberrant dates within a data set and isolating them from further analysis can we hope to understand cultural and biological phenomena on an accurate temporal scale. Based on the strict discard protocol outlined here, we omit 25% of the dated samples from the analysis. The remaining data speak to the lengthy tenure of Neandertals in the region, but also to their relatively rapid demise and the establishment of modern human populations approximately 38-34 ka 14C BP (42-39 kacalBP(Hulu)). We compare these chronometric data with those from the neighboring sites of Bronze and Dzudzuana caves, as well as Mezmaiskaya Cave, located in the northern Caucasus. While the lack of key contextual information limit our ability to subject these other data sets to the same critical evaluation procedure, they provide the first interregional temporal assessment of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic "transition," the results of which suggest an initial expansion of modern humans into the southern Caucasus followed by expansion along the Black Sea coast and into the northern Caucasus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.08.010DOI Listing
November 2008

Reassessment of TL age estimates of burnt flints from the Paleolithic site of Tabun Cave, Israel.

J Hum Evol 2003 Nov;45(5):401-9

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR CEA/CNRS, 91190, Gif sur Yvette, France.

The stratigraphy of Tabun Cave (Mt. Carmel), which comprises one of the longest sequences of Lower and Middle Paleolithic of the Near East, is widely used as a reference in debates on the evolution of Paleolithic industries and on the origin of modern humans and their relationship to the Neandertals. Considering the methodological improvements during the last ten years, the thermoluminescence (TL) dates of heated flints frequently quoted in the literature require an update. New TL results are discussed and compared with radiometric data recently obtained for this site, in particular by the ESR method, and with those obtained for other Levantine sites. The chronological framework previously proposed for the Paleolithic industries of the area is then re-examined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2003.09.004DOI Listing
November 2003

Emergence of modern human behavior: Middle Stone Age engravings from South Africa.

Science 2002 Feb 10;295(5558):1278-80. Epub 2002 Jan 10.

Iziko Museums of Cape Town, South African Museum, Post Office Box 61, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

In the Eurasian Upper Paleolithic after about 35,000 years ago, abstract or depictional images provide evidence for cognitive abilities considered integral to modern human behavior. Here we report on two abstract representations engraved on pieces of red ochre recovered from the Middle Stone Age layers at Blombos Cave in South Africa. A mean date of 77,000 years was obtained for the layers containing the engraved ochres by thermoluminescence dating of burnt lithics, and the stratigraphic integrity was confirmed by an optically stimulated luminescence age of 70,000 years on an overlying dune. These engravings support the emergence of modern human behavior in Africa at least 35,000 years before the start of the Upper Paleolithic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1067575DOI Listing
February 2002

Palaeolithic paintings. Evolution of prehistoric cave art.

Nature 2001 Oct;413(6855):479

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, UMR CEA-CNRS 1572, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France.

Sophisticated examples of European palaeolithic parietal art can be seen in the caves of Altamira, Lascaux and Niaux near the Pyrenees, which date to the Magdalenian period (12,000-17,000 years ago), but paintings of comparable skill and complexity were created much earlier, some possibly more than 30,000 years ago. We have derived new radiocarbon dates for the drawings that decorate the Chauvet cave in Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Ardèche, France, which confirm that even 30,000 years ago Aurignacian artists, already known as accomplished carvers, could create masterpieces comparable to the best Magdalenian art. Prehistorians, who have traditionally interpreted the evolution of prehistoric art as a steady progression from simple to more complex representations, may have to reconsider existing theories of the origins of art.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35097160DOI Listing
October 2001

Comparative morphology and paleobiology of Middle Pleistocene human remains from the Bau de l'Aubesier, Vaucluse, France.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2001 Sep 11;98(20):11097-102. Epub 2001 Sep 11.

Département des Sciences de la Terre et de l'Atmosphère, Université de Québec à Montréal, Casse Postale 8888, Succursale Centre Ville, Montréal, QC, Canada.

The discovery of later Middle Pleistocene human remains from the Bau de l'Aubesier, France reinforces an evolutionary model of the gradual accumulation of Neandertal-derived facial and dental features during the Middle Pleistocene of the northwestern Old World. The pronounced maxillary incisor beveling of Aubesier 4 helps to extend the antiquity of nondietary use of the anterior dentition. The interproximal "toothpick" groove on the Aubesier 10 molar increases the sample for these lesions. The pathological loss of the mandibular dentition of Aubesier 11 indicates advanced antemortem masticatory impairment, at a level previously undocumented before the Late Pleistocene. These remains support a view of later Middle Pleistocene humans able to support debilitated individuals despite the considerable use of their bodies to accomplish routine activities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.181353998DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC58689PMC
September 2001

Cannibals among the Neanderthals?

Nature 1993 Mar;362(6417):214

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/362214a0DOI Listing
March 1993

Luminescence dating relevant to human origins.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1992 Aug;337(1280):139-44

Research Laboratory for Archaeology, University of Oxford, U.K.

Luminescence dating provided the first direct and independent evidence that anatomically modern humans had a presence in western Asia earlier than is consistent with the 'regional continuity' model. The reliability of the result concerned, 92 (+/- 5) ka for burnt flints from Qafzeh Cave, is excellent and consistent with isochron analysis of the data. Flint dating has also confirmed palaeoenvironmental indications that the Mousterian industry in Europe was present somewhat earlier than the 100 ka limit previously accepted. Burnt quartz and unburnt sediment have also been important in Palaeolithic dating and the latter has a particularly high potential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1992.0090DOI Listing
August 1992

Thermoluminescence dating of the late Neanderthal remains from Saint-Césaire.

Nature 1991 Jun;351(6329):737-9

Centre des Faibles Radioactivités, Laboratoire mixte CNRS-CEA, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Anatomically modern humans have long been thought to have been responsible for the Aurignacian and Châtelperronian industries of the early Upper Palaeolithic of Western Europe, whereas the Middle Palaeolithic Mousterian industry has been attributed to Neanderthals. The presence of both Middle and Upper Palaeolithic strata at Saint-Césaire in France offers an excellent opportunity for studying the cultural transition between the two. Saint-Césaire is the only Châtelperronian site that has yielded really diagnostic hominid fossils, and the discovery there of Neanderthal remains alongside Châtelperronian tools cast doubt on the exclusive association between industries and taxon. We report thermoluminescence dates for 20 burnt flints from the site. Those found near the Neanderthal remains were dated at 36,300 +/- 2,700 years BP (before present), making this specimen the youngest Neanderthal dated so far. This date places the stratum close in age to several French but much younger than some Spanish Aurignacian sites believed to have been occupied by modern humans. The possibility of contact between the West European Neanderthals and the intrusive modern humans who replaced them cannot therefore be excluded.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/351737a0DOI Listing
June 1991

Thermoluminescence dating of Neanderthal and early modern humans in the Near East.

Endeavour 1991 ;15(3):115-9

Archaeological excavations in Europe provide no evidence for the first modern humans pre-dating Neanderthal man. In the Near East, however, a quite different sequence seems to have pertained. Thermoluminescence dating indicates that at some sites the modern humans were settled some 30,000 years before the Neanderthals. This raises the possibility of two lines of descent from a common ancestor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0160-9327(91)90154-4DOI Listing
December 1991