Palaeoenvironments and hominin evolutionary dynamics in southeast Asia

Anne Marie Bacon*, Nicolas Bourgon, Elise Dufour, Fabrice Demeter, Clément Zanolli, Kira E. Westaway, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Philippe Duringer, Jean Luc Ponche, Mike W. Morley, Eric Suzzoni, Sébastien Frangeul, Quentin Boesch, Pierre Olivier Antoine, Souliphane Boualaphane, Phonephanh Sichanthongtip, Daovee Sihanam, Nguyen Thi Mai Huong, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Denis FiorilloOlivier Tombret, Elise Patole-Edoumba, Alexandra Zachwieja, Thonglith Luangkhoth, Viengkeo Souksavatdy, Tyler E. Dunn, Laura Shackelford, Jean Jacques Hublin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Secure environmental contexts are crucial for hominin interpretation and comparison. The discovery of a Denisovan individual and associated fauna at Tam Ngu Hao 2 (Cobra) Cave, Laos, dating back to 164-131 ka, allows for environmental comparisons between this (sub)tropical site and the Palearctic Denisovan sites of Denisova Cave (Russia) and Baishiya Karst Cave (China). Denisovans from northern latitudes foraged in a mix of forested and open landscapes, including tundra and steppe. Using stable isotope values from the Cobra Cave assemblage, we demonstrate that, despite the presence of nearby canopy forests, the Denisovan individual from Cobra Cave primarily consumed plants and/or animals from open forests and savannah. Using faunal evidence and proxy indicators of climates, results herein highlight a local expansion of rainforest at ~ 130 ka, raising questions about how Denisovans responded to this local climate change. Comparing the diet and habitat of the archaic hominin from Cobra Cave with those of early Homo sapiens from Tam Pà Ling Cave (46-43 ka), Laos, it appears that only our species was able to exploit rainforest resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16165
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023

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Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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