Krasnoyarsk Regional Museum
Shown within Krasnoyarsk Krai
|Location||Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia|
|Coordinates||56°03′N 92°52′E / 56.05°N 92.87°ECoordinates: 56°03′N 92°52′E / 56.05°N 92.87°E|
|Type||open occupation site|
|Periods||Late Upper Paleolithic|
Afontova Gora is a Late Upper Paleolithic Siberian complex of archaeological sites located on the left bank of the Yenisei River near the city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Afontova Gora has cultural and genetic links to the people from Mal'ta-Buret'. The complex was first excavated in 1884 by I. T. Savenkov.
Afontova Gora is a multi-layered complex of 5 or more camp sites. The sites shows evidence of mammoth hunting and was likely the result of an eastward expansion of mammoth hunters. The human fossils discovered at Afontova Gora were stored in the Hermitage Museum.
Afontova Gora II is the site where the human fossil remains were found. The site was first excavated in 1912-1914 by V.I. Gromov. In 1924, G.P. Sosnovsky, N.K. Auerbach, and V.I. Gromov discovered the first human fossils at the site. The remains of mammoth, Arctic fox, Arctic hare, reindeer, bison, and horse were discovered at the site.
Afontova Gora II consists of 7 layers. Layer 3 from Afontova Gora II is the most significant: the layer produced the largest amount of cultural artefacts and is the layer where the human fossil remains were discovered. Over 20,000 artefacts were discovered at layer 3: this layer produced over 450 tools and over 250 osseous artefacts (bone, antler, ivory). The fossils of two distinct individuals were discovered in the initial excavations: the upper premolar of a 11-15 year-old child and the left radius, ulna, humerus, phalanx, and frontal bone of an adult.
Afontova Gora 2
In 2009, researchers visited the Hermitage Museum and extracted DNA from the humerus of Afontova Gora 2. Despite significant contamination, researchers succeeded in extracting low coverage genomes. DNA analysis confirmed that the individual was male.
The individual showed close genetic affinities to Mal'ta 1 (Mal'ta boy). Afontova Gora 2 also showed more genetic affinity for the Karitiana people versus Han Chinese. Around 1.9-2.7% of the genome was Neanderthal in origin.
Afontova Gora 3
In 2014, more human fossil remains were discovered at Afontova Gora II during salvage excavation before the construction of a new bridge over the Yenesei River. The remains belonged to two different females: the atlas of an adult female and the mandible and five lower teeth of a young girl (Afontova Gora 3) estimated to be around 14-15 years old. The new findings are presumed to be roughly contemporaneous with Afontova Gora 2.
Researchers analyzing the dental morphology of Afontova Gora 3 concluded that the teeth showed distinct characteristics with most similarities to another fossil (the Listvenka child) from the Altai-Sayan region and were not western nor eastern. Afontova Gora 3 and Listvenka showed distinct dental characteristics that were also different from other Siberian fossils, including those from Mal'ta.
DNA was extracted from one of the teeth of Afontova Gora 3 and analyzed. Compared to Afontova Gora 2, researchers were able to obtain higher coverage genomes from Afontova Gora 3. DNA analysis confirmed that the individual was female. mtDNA analysis revealed that Afontova Gora 3 belonged to Haplogroup R1b. Around 2.9-3.7% of the genome was Neanderthal in origin.
In a 2016 study, researchers determined that Afontova Gora 2, Afontova Gora 3, and Mal'ta 1 (Mal'ta boy) shared common descent and were clustered together in a Mal'ta cluster. Genetically, Afontova Gora 3 is not closer to Afontova Gora 2 when compared to Mal'ta 1. When compared to Mal'ta 1, the Afontova Gora 3 lineage apparently contributed more to modern humans and are genetically closer to Native Americans.
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