From Africa to East Asia, the early modern people's "East Migration" may have gone through the "Northern Route"

  How did the early modern people come out of Africa and come to East Asia? Which route did they take? This issue has always been highly concerned by academia.

  In the past, the academic circles tended to believe that early modern people advanced from Africa to East Asia and took a "Southern route", which route through the Arabian Peninsula, India, Southeast Asia and other places. In order to explore this early modern human diffusion route, researchers published a large number of papers on the "Southern diffusion route".

  In fact, the early modern people "moved east", there is also a "north route", this route passes through Central Asia, Siberia, Mongolia and Northwest China. However, this route has received little attention from scholars for a long time, and related research has also been deserted.

Different diffusion routes at different times

  In recent years, with the development of ancient DNA analysis technology, the application of new dating techniques, and the discovery of new archaeological materials, the times have changed. Many scholars gather their eyes here.

  Recently, at the invitation of the "Science Bulletin", the Gao Xing team of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a review on the spread of early modern people along the "Northern Route". "Fossil anthropology, paleogenomics, archaeology and other evidence show that about 50,000 to 30,000 years ago, early modern people have spread eastward along Central Asia, Siberia, Mongolia, and northwest China." Gao Star said.

  Compared with the early modern people who spread eastward along the "Southern Route" about 120,000 to 80,000 years ago, the "Northern Route" was much later. Gao Xing said that this shows that the diffusion of early modern people is a complicated process, with different diffusion routes at different time periods, and the mechanism and motivation of diffusion may be different.

  Early modern people had frequent genetic exchanges with ancient types of humans (Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc.) in the process of spreading along the "Northern Route", revealing the historical complexity of ancient human genetic exchanges. The latest research results of the "Northern Route" show that the diffusion of early modern people is a complex dynamic process, and the genetic communication with different people in the diffusion process may be the norm, reminding scholars to discuss our direct ancestor-the origin of modern people In the process of evolution, we should pay more attention to the complexity of regions and the frequency of gene exchange.

The remains of stone products provide a basis for studying the spread of early modern people

  Stone product technology is an important evidence to demonstrate the diffusion path of early modern people. Due to the overlapping time with the early modern people, the unearthed cultural relics (such as ornaments) have behavioral modernity characteristics, etc., researchers usually think that the cultural relics of the late Paleolithic early stage (IUP) are related to the early modern people.

  Previous studies have based on the general comparison of stone product technologies in different regions of Northeast Asia, and proposed a diffusion route for such technologies, but there is a lack of detailed technical comparisons based on human behavior decisions. In response to this situation, the Gaoxing team and others selected stone products at the first site of the Shuidonggou site in Ningxia to carry out a detailed technical analysis. The Ningxia Shuidonggou site group is an important site group in the late Paleolithic period of China, and it plays an important role in the research of the diffusion of stone products technology, the interaction of people in Northeast Asia and ecological adaptation in the late Late Pleistocene. Among them, the first site unearthed the remains of stone products with the characteristics of the middle and late Paleolithic Eurasian Western transition, which provided an important basis for discussing the spread of early modern people.

  The technical study of stone products unearthed at the 1st site of the Shuidonggou site in 1963, viewed the technical practice of ancient humans as a behavioral decision-making process, through the production of different stone products such as stone core preparation, table repair, stripping surface maintenance, chipping and stone processing The decomposition and extraction of the stage behavior decision to reconstruct the technical knowledge system of ancient humans.

  By comparing the stone product technology of the relevant IUP sites in the Altai region of Siberia, Trans-Baikal region, and northern Mongolia of Russia, the researchers found that there are certain regional technical characteristics in different regions, but the stone product technology at the first site of Shuidonggou and Siberia in general The Altai region is closer; by comparison, it differs greatly from northern Mongolia and Trans-Baikal regions. The existing chronological research results show that such relics appeared earlier in the Siberian Altai region, and appeared in northern Mongolia, Trans-Baikal region, and northern China, but were later than the Altai region.

  Based on the above evidence, the Gaoxing team proposed that the diffusion of IUP stone product technology in Northeast Asia is a multi-line model, rather than the single-line diffusion model proposed by previous scholars, indicating the complexity of the diffusion of early modern people. The result has been published in the "Public Science Library · Comprehensive" recently.

  Gao Xing said that there are still some weak links in the research on the "Northern Route" where modern people are spreading, which has brought many new topics to researchers. At present, there are few related archaeological sites found in Central Asia, Northwest China and other places, and systematic investigations are urgently needed to fill the gap in the "Northern Route"; there are few research cases of early modern human fossils and ancient DNA found. The basic data needs to be supplemented; the geographical location of the "Northern Route" region is diverse (forest land, grassland, desert, etc.), and the adaptation of early modern people to different ecological environments during the diffusion process will also become the focus of future research.