Compound-specific radiocarbon dating and mitochondrial DNA analysis of the Pleistocene hominin from Salkhit Mongolia

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Devièse, Thibaut; Massilani, Diyendo; Yi, Seonbok; Comeskey, Daniel; Nagel, Sarah; Nickel, Birgit; Ribechini, Erika; Lee, Jungeun; Tseveendorj, Damdinsuren; Gunchinsuren, Byambaa; Meyer, Matthias; Pääbo, Svante; Higham, Tom
Year of Publication: 2019
Journal: Nature Communications
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Pagination: 274
Date Published: 2019/01/30
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 2041-1723

A skullcap found in the Salkhit Valley in northeast Mongolia is, to our knowledge, the only Pleistocene hominin fossil found in the country. It was initially described as an individual with possible archaic affinities, but its ancestry has been debated since the discovery. Here, we determine the age of the Salkhit skull by compound-specific radiocarbon dating of hydroxyproline to 34,950–33,900 Cal. BP (at 95% probability), placing the Salkhit individual in the Early Upper Paleolithic period. We reconstruct the complete mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) of the specimen. It falls within a group of modern human mtDNAs (haplogroup N) that is widespread in Eurasia today. The results now place the specimen into its proper chronometric and biological context and allow us to begin integrating it with other evidence for the human occupation of this region during the Paleolithic, as well as wider Pleistocene sequences across Eurasia.

Short Title: Nature Communications