I honestly don’t know what’s going on here. Two PDFs of research articles are floating about, but i’m too fuzzy-brained and undereducated to muddle through them.

The fossils date to the mid-Pleistocene to a river basin in northwestern India. They aren’t sure if they are modern humans or archaic hominids.  One researcher was insisting on their being ancestors to modern pygmies, which is weird and almost certainly wrong.

I’m leaning on the usual wild guess… another archaic human branch that wound up in modern human DNA through admixture, possibly only in South Asians or probably only Austronesians. They’ll be distinct from both Neandertals and Denisovans.

Update As noted in comments, the article seems to read differently than it did originally. There is a noted correction at the suggestion of Dr. A. R. Sankhyan on January 21st. It’s likely changing the wording to mean more specifically pygmies of South Asia and the article now seems far, far more plausible. The reason why I get nervous about the possibility of anyone even hinting about westward migration that early, back into Africa, is because there is all kinds of dubious research that has bubled up through my years of combing through these news stories proposing human evolved in China that reeks of nationalism. Thankfully, with this correction, this research isn’t one of them.

4 thoughts on “archaic humans of Central Narmada?

  1. Passing on unsolicited and unqualified comments on research articles is a bad habit of some people. Why don’t they directly correspond and discuss with the author/s and seek clarifications.

  2. I know why I didn’t…. because this blog is essentially an open notebook researching interests. While I may be underqualified, please take note of when I posted (January 6th) then note when a certain correction was made. (January 21st)

    The article now states all pygmies of South Asia, but I’m certain that’s not what it originally said. It said ALL pygmies. If the researcher intends to suggest possibly Homo floresiensis may have derived from these people, that makes sense. If he meant only Homo sapiens populations of small-statured people in South Asia, that’s even more plausible. However, I’m dead certain that’s not what the original post said. The blog was actually decent enough to make a correction at the recommendation of Dr. A. R. Sankhyan and point it out in the comments, after you commented actually. I cannot blame the blogger. I’ve made some ridiculous errors through the years through pure mistyping.

    Regardless, I appreciate you commenting as I went back to look at the article, which was already intriguing enough. Now it’s more accurate to the actual research. For all we know, my “unsolicited and unqualified comments” may have contributed to its greater accuracy.


  3. you know that paragraph is still in there:

    “According to Dr. A R Sankhyan, the lead author and a retired palaeoanthropologist with Anthropological Survey of India, the short and stocky people can even be the ancestors of African pygmies. In a media statement, Sankhyan said that the race “could be the ancestors of the short-bodied people of south Asia, those found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and African pygmies”.”

    Trust me. This is not a wise statement. It seems that I made a terrible error in giving the benefit of the doubt.

    And this isn’t either.

    “Probably the pygmy-like people exterminated the larger bodied people and then migrated to other pastures including Africa,” he added

    How? When? I’m too unqualified to begin to fathom such a miraculous discovery. I truly hope that the journalist interviewing him was putting words in his mouth.

  4. I saw these comments after more than a year and feel to let myself be clear to the learned commentator. I thank him for the comments. let me clarify that the “pygmoid” man had not exterminated the “large-bodied” Acheulian man and I have also detailed my arguments in other subsequent publications.
    I have hypothesized that the “short and stocky” or “pygmoid’ type Narmada valley fossil hominin appeared in Narmada valley around 150 Kya and used non-Acheulian Mode 3 technology. At around this time the earlier “large-bodied” Acheulian hominin known by the partial skull was becoming rarer due to eco-climatic and sedimentological change that also affected the faunal contents. It was the time when the Acheulian man migrated to various other parts of South Asia- we also document at Susunia in West Bengal, and Bastar region. The “short-bodied” lineage flourished and continued; the recent fossil of the humerus supports its continuity at least by 70 Kya. This lineage could have been the ancestral stock for the later ‘short-bodied’ populations of India/south Asia which also included the Andaman negrito pygmy who splitted off from other mainland Indian populations like Pauri Bhuya, Rajbanshi, etc. between 25 -40 Kya as per the mtDNA studies.

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