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Lewis L.,University of Oxford | Perera N.,Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology | Petraglia M.,University of Oxford
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

Here we conduct the first direct metric examination of two early regional manifestations of microlithic industries - the Howiesons Poort of southern Africa (c. 65-60ka) and the Microlithic industry of South Asia (c. 38-12ka). Inter-regional comparative analysis of microlithic industries is rare, but can contribute much to our understanding of technological systems in the past. Metric and qualitative variables were recorded on cores, debitage, and tools from Rose Cottage Cave and Umhlatuzana, South Africa, and Batadomba-lena, Sri Lanka, with the aim of conducting a first-stage technological assessment of the degree of technological homogeneity and diversity within these rich microlithic assemblages. The lithic methodology employed here uses the full range of lithic by-products, as opposed to an approach based on tool typology alone. Preliminary analyses reveal areas of significant variation in inter-regional technological strategies. These include differences in blade production and blank selection, variation in microlith typology and morphology, disparate quartz reduction processes designed to produce similar tool types, varying degrees of utilisation of bipolar technology, and the existence of distinct reduction trajectories within sites. The examination of the diversity of microlithic assemblages through the use of detailed technological attribute analyses demonstrates a useful alternative methodology for the way we examine behavioural variability, and is a first step towards a thorough assessment of the place of microliths in models of human dispersals. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Roberts P.,University of Oxford | Perera N.,Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology | Wedage O.,Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha | Deraniyagala S.,Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha | And 5 more authors.
Science | Year: 2015

Human occupation of tropical rainforest habitats is thought to be a mainly Holocene phenomenon. Although archaeological and paleoenvironmental data have hinted at pre-Holocene rainforest foraging, earlier human reliance on rainforest resources has not been shown directly. We applied stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis to human and faunal tooth enamel from four late Pleistocene-to-Holocene archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. The results show that human foragers relied primarily on rainforest resources from at least ∼20,000 years ago, with a distinct preference for semi-open rainforest and rain forest edges. Homo sapiens' relationship with the tropical rainforests of South Asia is therefore long-standing, a conclusion that indicates the time-depth of anthropogenic reliance and influence on these habitats. © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.

Meegaskumbura M.,University of Peradeniya | Senevirathne G.,University of Peradeniya | Wijayathilaka N.,University of Peradeniya | Jayawardena B.,University of Peradeniya | And 3 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2015

The bufonid genus Adenomus, an endemic of the montane and lowland rainforests of central and south-western Sri Lanka, has been considered to comprise of three species, viz. A. kelaartii, A. dasi and A. kandianus, the last of which has been recently highlighted as "the world's rarest toad". We conducted a survey across the known range of Adenomus and used multiple criteria to delineate species boundaries within the genus. These include: a molecular phylogeny based on a 16S ribosomal RNA gene fragment; an examination of the external morphology of adults and larvae, and the skeletal morphology of adults; a bioacoustic analysis; and ecological niche modelling. We show that Adenomus is monophyletic and that it comprises only two species: A. kelaartii and A. kandianus, with A. dasi being a junior synonym of the latter. For the two valid species of Adenomus, we provide detailed osteological descriptions; clarify the distribution patterns; and provide genetic data to facilitate their scientific conservation management. © 2015 Magnolia Press.

Meegaskumbura M.,University of Peradeniya | Manamendra-Arachchi K.,Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology | Bowatte G.,University of Peradeniya | Meegaskumbura S.,University of Peradeniya
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

Ixalus semiruber Annandale, a diminutive (12-mm snout-vent length) frog originally described from the highlands of Sri Lanka in 1913, has not been recorded in the succeeding century and is treated as Data Deficient for conservation purposes. Here we report its rediscovery in Agra-Bopath, a sub-montane forest reserve. Pseudophilautus semiruber is distinguished by a combination of the following characters: size 12.0-13.4 mm SVL; canthal edges rounded; tympanum distinct; vomerine ridge absent; supratympanic fold feebly defined; throat, chest, belly and underside of thigh smooth. It is a high-elevation (1,750 m a.s.l.) diurnal species that inhabits heavily-shaded leaf litter. © 2012 Magnolia Press.

Osborne R.A.L.,University of Sydney | Osborne R.A.L.,6 College Street | Weliange W.S.,Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology | Jayasingha P.,Research Laboratory | And 3 more authors.
Acta Carsologica | Year: 2013

There has been little study of the geology and geomorphology of the caves and karst-like features developed in the Proterozo-ic gneiss and Cambrian granite of Sri Lanka. This lack of study is surprising given that caves and rockshelters in these rocks contain signifcant archaeological and cultural sites. Caves and karren, both mimicking those developed in carbonate rocks, have formed both in gneiss, which is the dominant rock type of the Proterozoic crust of the island and in granite. In addition to overhangs, boulder caves, soil pipes and tectonic caves, tunnel caves, arch caves and block breakdown caves of signifcant size are developed in siliceous rocks in Sri Lanka. while metamorphosed dolomites are interfoliated within the gneissic suite, simple removal of carbonate by solution from within the surrounding rock cannot account for all or most of the speleogen-esis observed. while spalling and breakdown are responsible for cave enlargement, cave initiation is probably due to either phreatic solution of silicates and/or phantom rock processes. Speleothems and cave minerals including silicates, phosphates, gypsum, carbonates and niter are found in the caves. Active silicate speleothems are not restricted to joints and fssures and suggest that solution of silicates is currently occurring within the body of the rock in the vadose zone. while guano is the likely source of the phosphate, sulfate and nitrate, the source of the calcium in the carbonates remains unclear. Caves in the intrusive and metamorphic rocks of Sri Lanka are enigmatic. They are unexpectedly similar in appearance to their carbonate karst counterparts. Continuing research will allow them to hold a mirror to our understanding of speleogenesis, mineralization and sedimentation in carbonate karst caves.

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