Because of lower endogenous DNA content in Vi-208, a full mitochondrial genome could not be reconstructed for the sample.
However, from the limited amounts of mitochondrial sequences, we were able to trace most of the observed variants to variations found in previously sequenced Neanderthal mitochondrial genomes (Nine of the samples selected produced enough collagen (or hydroxyproline) to be dated by AMS.
The latest data, both radiometric and genetic, suggest Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted or overlapped for up to several thousand years in Europe until Neanderthal disappearance at around 40,000 cal B. Our understanding of the biocultural processes involved in the transition have been greatly influenced by improved accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating methods and their application to directly dating the remains of late Neanderthals and early modern humans, as well as artifacts recovered from the sites they occupied. (10) showed that, when redated using ultrafiltration methods, the bones that produced ages of ∼33,000 B. were in fact beyond the radiocarbon limit, suggesting the Neanderthal remains were unlikely to be as young as previously thought. For sample Vi-208, after ultrafiltration, the C/N atomic ratio was 3.4, which indicates collagen of acceptable quality.
In addition, to test the reality of the co-occurrence of earlier Upper Paleolithic bone and antler point artifacts with the Neanderthal remains, we selected six osseous points for dating (, Fig. To test collagen preservation, we took ∼3–5 mg bone powder, using tungsten carbide drills, and measured the %N content.
The bone was analyzed using ancient DNA techniques to enable a formal species identification.) High-resolution photographs of the Vi-*28 Neanderthal bone found using Zoo MS.
The bone yields evidence for a probable cut and gauge marks (right upper part of the bone).
The picture was taken after the bone had undergone sampling for Zoo MS and before sampling for a DNA, radiocarbon, and stable isotope analysis.
() High-resolution photographs of the Vi-*28 Neanderthal bone found using Zoo MS.
These dates suggest a co-occurrence of early Upper Paleolithic osseous artifacts, particularly split-based points, alongside the remains of Neanderthals is a result of postdepositional mixing, rather than an association between the two groups, although more work is required to show this definitively. Significant questions still remain regarding the precise nature of this transition, the humans responsible for the various transitional early Upper Paleolithic industries, the degree of overlap between Neanderthals and modern humans, and the timing of the disappearance of the former.