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Reply to Klein: Ysterfontein 1 shell midden (South Africa) and the antiquity of coastal adaptation

Niespolo, Elizabeth M. and Sharp, Warren D. and Avery, Graham and Dawson, Todd E. (2021) Reply to Klein: Ysterfontein 1 shell midden (South Africa) and the antiquity of coastal adaptation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118 (31). Art. No. e2108794118. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC8346909. doi:10.1073/pnas.2108794118.

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Klein (1) challenges two interpretations in Niespolo et al. (2). Regarding his first point, we maintain that Ysterfontein 1 (YFT1) does provide the oldest known example of full coastal adaptation as indicated by the presence of shell middens (cf. ref. 3). Klein inaccurately characterizes the age of the deepest shell midden layers at Klasies River Main (KRM) given in ref. 4. While other workers identify even the oldest light brown sand (LBS) layer at KRM as similar in age or younger than the deepest deposits at YFT1 (cf. refs. 5 and 6), the reference cited by Klein (4) and subsequent dating efforts show that the shell midden lenses in beach-sand deposits within the LBS layer likely postdate the marine isotope stage 5e sea level highstand (∼120 ka) as does the midden at YFT1. However, existing dates suggest that KRM shell middens may, in fact, be younger than YFT1. Layer LBS has been directly dated using multiple techniques that converge on an age of ∼104 ka (5), notably younger than the 95% confidence interval for YFT1 deposition (2). However, complicating matters, a capping speleothem with a U-series age of ∼110 ka is interpreted as a minimum age of the LBS layer at KRM (5). Thus, layer LBS yields conflicting dates and its true age remains uncertain. The next oldest layer at KRM hosting midden deposits (layer shell and sand [SAS]) is definitively younger than YFT1 (5, 7). Thus, there is no basis for the assertion that KRM middens are older than those at YFT1, and we stand by our claim that YFT1 provides the oldest currently known example of systematic coastal resource exploitation.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Article
Niespolo, Elizabeth M.0000-0002-9537-3031
Sharp, Warren D.0000-0002-6340-8690
Avery, Graham0000-0003-3833-1959
Dawson, Todd E.0000-0002-6871-3440
Additional Information:© 2021 National Academy of Sciences. Published under the PNAS license. Published July 20, 2021. Author contributions: E.M.N. and W.D.S. designed research; E.M.N., W.D.S., G.A., and T.E.D. performed research; E.M.N., W.D.S., G.A., and T.E.D. analyzed data; and E.M.N., W.D.S., G.A., and T.E.D. wrote the paper. The authors declare no competing interest.
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Leakey FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:31
PubMed Central ID:PMC8346909
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210726-161544594
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Official Citation:Reply to Klein: Ysterfontein 1 shell midden (South Africa) and the antiquity of coastal adaptation. Elizabeth M. Niespolo, Warren D. Sharp, Graham Avery, Todd E. Dawson. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2021, 118 (31) e2108794118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2108794118
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110006
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Jul 2021 17:28
Last Modified:21 Sep 2021 23:59

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