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Isotopic evidence for initial coastal colonization and subsequent diversification in the human occupation of Wallacea

Roberts, P; Louys, J; Zech, J; Shipton, C; Kealy, S; Carro, SS; Hawkins, S; ... OʼConnor, S; + view all (2020) Isotopic evidence for initial coastal colonization and subsequent diversification in the human occupation of Wallacea. Nature Communications , 11 , Article 2068. 10.1038/s41467-020-15969-4. Green open access

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Abstract

The resource-poor, isolated islands of Wallacea have been considered a major adaptive obstacle for hominins expanding into Australasia. Archaeological evidence has hinted that coastal adaptations in Homo sapiens enabled rapid island dispersal and settlement; however, there has been no means to directly test this proposition. Here, we apply stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis to human and faunal tooth enamel from six Late Pleistocene to Holocene archaeological sites across Wallacea. The results demonstrate that the earliest human forager found in the region c. 42,000 years ago made significant use of coastal resources prior to subsequent niche diversification shown for later individuals. We argue that our data provides clear insights into the huge adaptive flexibility of our species, including its ability to specialize in the use of varied environments, particularly in comparison to other hominin species known from Island Southeast Asia.

Type: Article
Title: Isotopic evidence for initial coastal colonization and subsequent diversification in the human occupation of Wallacea
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15969-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15969-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Anthropology, Archaeology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123699
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