The very first humans originally developed in Africa before around 60,000 years ago.
After that, the story of mankind eventually goes down many different paths, some better-studied than others.
In eastern Eurasia, around 2.3 billion people are located today – about 30 percent of the worldwide population.
Archaeologists know that modern people occupied East Asia and Asia for 40,000 years ago.
But there is a lot left to unravel.
Who were the people who first arrived in these regions and developed agricultural practice?
Wo came of the different populations?
Which groups ended up dominant and which ones died out?
Using ancient DNA to answer some of these questions,
By securing the genomes of people who lived millions of years ago, I am beginning to nip into the picture of how Asia was populated.
Well-preserved DNA from ancient bones reveals how humans spread into East Asia. Wei Gao, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
In 2016 I joined Qiaomei Fu’s Molecular Paleontology Lab at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing
Our challenge: Resolve the human history in East Asia with the help of partners who were long dead ancient people living in the region – for hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Members of the laboratory extracted and sequenced old DNA with human remains from archaeological sites.
Dr. Fu and I then used computational genomic tools to assess how their DNA relates to that of previously skedulated ancient and modern humans.
Tianyuan Man, from near present Beijing, and Habnhian people, from present Laos and Malaysia, represent two very old lines of connection that are distinct from East Asians of today.
One of our sequences came from the ancient DNA obtained from the man Tianyuan, a man found in western China.
One of the earliest modern humans found in East Asia, his genetics would make him an early ancestor of Asians and Native Americans of today.
That he lived there where China is today’s capital indicated that as far back as 40,000 years ago, the Asian ancestors of today began establishing roots in East Asia.
Far south, Laos and Malaysia – groups associated with the Habnhian cultural background have DNA that shows they are the early ancestors of Asians and Native Americans, like the Tianyuan Man.
These two were from a completely different lineage than the Tianyuan man which suggested that many separate genetic populations occupied Asia in the past.
But no human today shares the same genetic makeup in Asia as H abnhians or the Tianyuan man, both in East and South Asia.
Why did ancestral ancestries, that persisted for so long, disappear now from the alive human genes pool?
Old farmers carry the key to this answer.
Scientists know that on rocks found at archaeological sites, scientists know that in northern China, the region of Yellow River about 10,000 years ago.
Around the same time people also lived in the Yangtze River region of southern China.
Plant Domestication in Europe was born locally and was not introduced from anywhere else.
The process lasted thousands of years and societies in East Asia became increasingly complex with the rise of the Thessaloniki approximately 4,000 years ago.
Arid rice farmers, possibly of the Yangtze River, moved south into Southeast Asia, while millet farmers from the Yellow River moved north into Siberia.
That’s also when rice cultivation appears to have expanded from its origins further south to areas where the land is now Southeast Asian countries.
DNA helps us tell the story.
When rice farmers in southern China advanced southwards they introduced not only their farming technology but also their genetics to local populations of southeast Asian hunters-gatherers.
The overpowering influx of their DNA eventually swamped the local gene pool.
Heute, people live in Southeast Asia
The skull of a person who lived for about 8700 years in Xiaogao, Shandong, China near the Yellow River.
The north-eastern Asian ancestry of this individual is found in the remains of people who lived into the eastern steppes of Siberia.
Old Siberian hunters/gatherers today show little connection with East Asians, but later Siberian farmers are closely connected to the today’s East Asians.
Farmers from northern China moved north into Siberia, whereby their DNA came with them, resulting in a sharp decline in prevalence of past local hunter-gatherer ancestry.
Professor Qiaomei Fu, a director of the Molecular Paleontology laboratory of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing prepares samples for ancient DNA extraction
Genetically, the Eastern Asians of today are not very different from one another.
It is necessary to be a lot of DNA for the beginning genetically of identifying between people with different cultural histories.
This individual who lived on Liang Island in the Taiwan Strait about 8,300 years ago has southernance found in residents of the Coastal mainland of southern China.
Dr. Fu and me have not forgotten how different were the DNA of various ancient population generations in China.
Diffusion of shared DNA at Yellow River in the region is a place important for the development of the Chinese civilization.
This shared DNA represents a northern-western Asian ancestry, distinguished from a southern East Asian ancestry.
When 7,000-8,500 years ago we studied the DNA of people who lived in coastal southern China, we realized that already by then a great deal of China shared a common heritage.
Because their and was different from that of Yellow River farmers we had thought that these coastal people could come from a lineage that is not closely related to those first Asian farmers.
It is possible that this group would be related to the Tianyuan Man or Habnhians ancestry.
People with different lifestyles living far from one another in northern China near the Yellow River and along the southern China coast 9,000 years ago both passed their distinctive DNA down to the present East Asians and Southeast Asians.
Austronesians are the closest descendants of the ancient population of Southern China coastal. Map OpenStreetMap contributors updated by The Conversation
But instead, all of the people we collected were closely related to ‘Oasis today’s east Asians.
That means that DNA was already widely shared with all East Asians on China 9,000 years ago.
Today, northern and southern Chinese populations share more common types of homes with the old yellow river populations than are with the earlier coastal southern Chinese.
Therefore, early Yellow River farmers migrated both north and south to contribute to the human genome pool across East and Southeast Asia.
The coastal south-western Chinese ancestry did, however, not fade.
It persists in small amounts and does increase in one.
The influence of ancient southern-eastern Asians is low on the mainland but had a great impact elsewhere.
On islands across the Taiwan Strait to Polynesia are the one most famous for seafaring.
They own the, highlighting their ancestry in coastal south China.
Among Tibetans and ancient individuals from Mongolia and Northern China, the links show are questioning the colossal fracturing of the Tibetan Plateau.
Ancient DNA revealed rapid evolutions in genealogical representation over the last 10,000 years across Asia, likely due to migration and cultural exchanges.
Until more ancient human DNA is recovered, scientists can only speculate as to who was born in East Asia when it lived before that.
This article was originally published on August 15, 2015 by the University of Richmond.
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