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Earliest unequivocally modern humans in southern China

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Republication from nature.com

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Location of the Daoxian site. Late Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene localities with human remains that have been included in the morphological and/or metric comparison with Daoxian are also marked on the map. 2: Tianyuan Cave;

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The hominin record from southern Asia for the early Late Pleistocene epoch is scarce. Well-dated and well-preserved fossils older than ~45,000 years that can be unequivocally attributed to Homo sapiens are lacking1, 2, 3, 4. Here we present evidence from the newly excavated Fuyan Cave in Daoxian (southern China). This site has provided 47 human teeth dated to more than 80,000 years old, and with an inferred maximum age of 120,000 years. The morphological and metric assessment of this sample supports its unequivocal assignment to H. sapiens. The Daoxian sample is more derived than any other anatomically modern humans, resembling middle-to-late Late Pleistocene specimens and even contemporary humans. Our study shows that fully modern morphologies were present in southern China 30,000–70,000 years earlier than in the Levant and Europe5, 6, 7. Our data fill a chronological and geographical gap that is relevant for understanding when H. sapiens first appeared in southern Asia.

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Analysis of ancient mitochondrial DNA gives insights into population movements in the Tarim Basin, China

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Republication from Biomed central

Afanasievo-Tarim

Fig. 1

Map of Eurasia showing the location of the Xiaohe cemetery, the Tarim Basin, the ancient Silk Road routes and the areas occupied by cultures associated with the settlement of the Tarim Basin. This figure is drawn according to literatures

 

https://static-content.springer.com/image/art%3A10.1186%2Fs12863-015-0237-5/MediaObjects/12863_2015_237_Fig2_HTML.gif

 

Fig. 2

a Fourth layer of the Xiaohe cemetery showing a large number of large phallus and vulva posts; b A well-preserved boat coffin; c Female mummy with European features; d Double-layered coffin excavated from the Xiaohe cemetery

 

Chunxiang Li, Chao Ning, Erika Hagelberg, Hongjie Li, Yongbin Zhao,  Wenying Li, Idelisi Abuduresule, Hong Zhu and Hui Zhou

BMC Genetics201516:78

DOI: 10.1186/s12863-015-0237-5

Abstract

Background

The Tarim Basin in western China, known for its amazingly well-preserved mummies, has been for thousands of years an important crossroad between the eastern and western parts of Eurasia. Despite its key position in communications and migration, and highly diverse peoples, languages and cultures, its prehistory is poorly understood. To shed light on the origin of the populations of the Tarim Basin, we analysed mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms in human skeletal remains excavated from the Xiaohe cemetery, used by the local community between 4000 and 3500 years before present, and possibly representing some of the earliest settlers.

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Admixture history and recent southern origins of Siberian populations

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Republication from BioRxiv

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siberia

Fig.1. Admixture results for K=6 showing the approximate location of the populations  included in this study. The names of the populations are coloured according to their
linguistic affiliation as follows: red = Mongolic, blue = Turkic, dark green = North
Tungusic, light green = South Tungusic (Hezhen) and Manchu (Xibo), brown = Ugric,
orange = Samoyedic, black = Yenisseic, azure = Yukaghirs, maroon = Chukotko-
Kamchatkan, pink = Eskimo-Aleut, purple = Indo-European, teal = Sino-Tibetan and
Japonic. Where two subgroups are from the same geographic location, only one of the subgroups is shown (full results are presented in Fig.S1). Note that for reasons of space the location of the two distinct Yakut subgroups does not correspond to their true location. Each color indicates a different ancestry component referred to in the text as “(light) green” or European, “yellow” or Western Siberian, “blue” or Central Siberian, “pink” or Asian,  “red” or Far Eastern, “dark green” or Eskimo.

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Irina Pugach, Rostislav Matveev, Viktor Spitsyn, Sergey Makarov, Innokentiy Novgorodov, Vladimir Osakovsky, Mark Stoneking, Brigitte Pakendorf

Samurai Horse armour and equipment (part II)

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Horse chanfron in the form of a dragon

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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Samurai Horse armour and equipment (part I)

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aSaddle and horse armour of a mounted Samurai.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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The armour and equipment of the Samurai’s horses are equally impressive with the respective items of the warriors themselves. The specific military equipment of rider and horse originates from continental Asia, specifically from the nomads of the Eurasian steppe who passed it to the Chinese and the Koreans when the latter founded armored cavalry units of the nomadic type, and later passed it in their turn to Japan. The well known Chinese Empires and also the Korean states (especially the kingdoms of Baekje, Silla and the Gaya confederacy) played an important role in this conveyance. But already from the beginning the Japanese developed differently the original Continental prototypes, following a specific style of their own; I guess because of their insular isolation and their permanent tendency to be self-sufficient. Thereby they totally developed their own types of lamellar and scale armour, stirrups, bridle, chanfrons and other equipment for the riding and the protection of their horses in battle. However Chinese influence is evident, particularly in the chanfrons in which the Japanese were usually giving the form of a dragon, specifically in the Chinese style.
This is a photographic collection of horse armour, stirrups, bridle, chanfrons and other horse equipment of the Samurais mainly of the Muromachi (Ashikaga) and Edo periods of the Japanese history.

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MAKE IT JUST AS THE ENEMY’S (part II): European-inspired helmets and Continental Asiatic-inspired armour of the Philippines, Indonesia and Insular Malaysia

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CONTINUED FROM PART I

08Burgonet style
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MAKE IT JUST AS THE ENEMY’S (part I): European-inspired helmets and Continental Asiatic-inspired armour of the Philippines, Indonesia and Insular Malaysia

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Continental-inspired Plate-and-mail armor, and also shield, kris sword and spear from the Philippines
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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The Insular world of Indonesia, Insular Malaysia (Sarawak, Sabah), Brunei and the Philippines had a long military tradition before the appearance of the European seafarers and colonists on their seas. Indonesia and Insular Malaysia already had influences on their warfare and weaponry mainly from the Hindu and Islamic civilizations of India, and less from Indochina, while the Philippines were under the military influence mainly of East Asia in total but actually the Philippines’s tribes were mainly based on their own native tribal warfare and weaponry. Excluding the culturally Indianized and later Islamized Indonesian and Malaysian nobility, the native tribal character was also dominant among most Indonesian and Insular Malaysian warriors.

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THE JUAN JUAN KHANATE (NOMAD PEOPLES OF THE EURASIAN STEPPES)

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archer2

(photo found at Pinterest, Copyright: The Bulgarian School of horseback archery)

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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The vast Asiatic steppes from Manchuria to the Ural River had always been the cradle of nomadic peoples of intense mobility and warlike character. Dashing from this cradle, they used to debouche in order to gradually form nomadic “empires” (sometimes as far as the Hungarian plains) and invade the territories of sedentary peoples such as China, India, Iran, the Greco-Roman regions of the Mediterranean and later the Christian countries of Europe. The European World was equally exposed to the lethal hordes of these horseback warriors of the steppes, as well as the Chinese, the Indian and the Iranian World, paying a heavy toll in human lives and material damage, from the Early Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages. The Iranian Saka (Eastern Scythians) were perhaps the first nomadic people who formed a powerful tribal union (rather a confederation) in Central Asia, the “Great Horde of the Saka” (Ma-Saka-ta), whose name the ancient Greeks linguistically Hellenized and quoted in their writings as Massagetae. This tribal union was followed by other nomadic confederations of Tocharian, Turkic, Mongol, Tungusic, Yeniseic and other origins, such as the Wu Sun (Wusun), the Hsiung Nu (Xiongnu, the Huns?), the Yue Chih (Yuezhi), the Hsien-pi (Xianbei), until the emergence of the Juan Juan (Rouran, Avars).

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SOME SCENARIOS ON THE OUTCOME OF THE UKRAINIAN CRISIS

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By Periklis Deligiannis

ukraine
Russian-speaking combatants gather ammunition from the place of crash of a Ukrainian fighter aircraft.

Many of us remember the classic book “Clash of Civilizations” (1996) of Samuel Huntington, the main successor to the geopolitical school of the British historian Arnold Toynbee, and his remarks on the bipartition of the cultural identity of Ukraine and Turkey, which is dramatically verified for both of them in the last twelve months. Yet Turkey, despite the dramatic events taking place in the country during the last year, does not wobble as much as Ukraine.
Let’s see how things have developed for the Ukrainian crisis and then some scenarios on its solution. The terms of the recent agreement were not really implemented and the Ukraine is possibly moving towards a more violent confrontation. The “big players” (Russia, U.S., E.U. and China) are rather cautious preferring keep waiting, except the rapid Russian annexation of Crimea.
The Western media have probably overstated the financial dependence of Russia from the Western economies, although the American financial reprisals on her have already been felt in the country. Neither Russia can seriously threaten the U.S. in retaliation, but can push to a certain extent the European Union using energy reprisals. Of course the latter did not have any serious problems of energy supply before the energy agreements with Russia, but it now appears to depend a lot on the inexhaustible Russian gas resources, especially Germany, France and the other Northern European nations.
The Ukrainian crisis is the outcome of the constant attempts of the U.S. and the E.U. to penetrate a geopolitical region which Russia considers exclusively her own since at least 1793. However it seems that they have not anticipated the extent of the internal struggle in Ukraine.

What are the reasons of the current embarrassment of the “major geopolitical players”?

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THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE CHINESE TANG (T’ANG) EMPIRE

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By  Periklis    DeligiannisTang-style lamellar

A  recreation  of  a  Tang  or  a  general  Tang-type  lamellar  cuirass. Note  the  impressive  visor.

In  589  AD  the  Sui  Dynasty  managed  to  unite  the  vast  Chinese  lands  in  an  empire  after  four  centuries  of  division,  barbaric  occupation  of  northern  China  and  bloody  internal  wars  (189-589  AD).  The  Sui  emperors  restored  stability  and  prosperity  in  the  vast  country,  but  the  Emperor  Yang  Ti  launched  three  unsuccessful  campaigns  against  the  powerful  Korean  kingdom  Koguryo  (612-614).  The  maintenance  for  three  years,  of  the  numerous  Chinese  troops  (needed  for  the  difficult  campaigns  against  the  Koguryan  Koreans)  exhausted  financially  the  citizens  of  the  empire.  The  taxation  and  the  recruitment  had  increased  excessively  by  Yang  Ti,  in  order  to  maintain  his  numerous  military  forces  in  the  Korean  border.  Finally  the  Chinese  people  rebelled,  supported  by  the  equally  discontented  nobles.  By 617  the  Sui  Empire  collapsed.  Various  contenders  for  imperial  power,  Chinese  and  barbarian  mercenary  warlords,  and  some  people’s  revolutionary  movements,  ravaged  the  territories  of  the  shattered  empire.  The  power  of  the  Sui  was  essentially  limited  to  the  capital  Chang  An.

dynasty-Tang

A  map  of  the  Tang  Empire,  after  its  consolidation .  Kogyryo  had  already  been  replaced  by  the  Po-Hai  kingdom.


One  of   the  independent  Chinese  warlords  was  Li  Yuan  Tang  of  the  Tang  family (local  dynasty),  ruler  of  the  upper  valley  of  the  river  Wei  in  northwest  China.  The  valley  was  a  natural  fortress,  protected  by  high  mountains,  and  the  only  “inputs”  in  it  were  a  few  mountainous  passes.  The  Chinese  tradition  informs  us  that  20,000  soldiers  could  defend  the  upper  valley  against  an  army  of  1,000,000  enemies.  This  report  probably  sounds  excessive,  but  in  reality  it  was  not  incorrect.  Continue reading

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