The debate around the Sungir finds is going on. It appears that Sungir, while not dating from the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, may prove a key site for the understanding of cultural and biological processes accompanying the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe. The essence of the controversy is as follows. In my view, Khrisanfova [1980; Sungir…, 1984: 100 – 140; Homo sungirensis…, 2000: 193 – 215, 345 – 348] had convincingly demonstrated the presence of several archaic (and possibly Neanderthal) features in the postcranial skeleton of the Sungir male. The same applies to traits discovered by Zubov in the dental system of Sungir children [Sungir…, 1984: 178; Homo sungirensis…, 2000: 267]. Based on these findings and on archaeological facts evidencing the autochthonous origin of the Sungir culture (see below), I suggested that the Sungir population had resulted from the assimilation of local Neanderthals by anatomically modern immigrants, hybridization, and sexual selection [Kozintsev, 1997, 2003]. M. Mednikova disagrees with me and believes that the only ancestors of the Sungir people were immigrants from the tropical regions, and the similarities with Neanderthals concern either plesiomorphies or adaptations to cold [Homo sungirensis…, 2000: 387 – 393; Mednikova, 2003]. Regrettably, in her recent article, Mednikova  is less than exact in her account of the discussion. In her words, I first claimed that the Sungir population had originated directly from the Neanderthals without any hybridization with anatomically modern humans (which would be tantamount to a miracle), but later I allegedly changed my mind and inclined to the idea of admixture. Actually, I did not change my views. In both the earlier article [Kozintsev, 1997: 112], and the recent one [Kozintsev, 2003], I clearly mention interbreeding and assimilation as the most likely factors in the origin of populations such as Sungir. The objective of the present article is to revise the problem, remove certain misconceptions, and discuss some new facts and theories relevant for the issue.
|Журнал||Archaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology of Eurasia|
|Состояние||Опубликовано - 2004|