Mitochondrial genome data of ancient DNA from hanging coffins in East Asia

Mitochondrial genome data of ancient DNA from hanging coffins in East Asia

The complete mitochondrial DNA sequences of 41 human remains from 13 hanging coffin sites 2500-660 years ago in Weixin and Yanjin, Zhaotong, Yunnan, Huacun, Baise, Guangxi and bangmapa, Thailand were analyzed by using the ancient DNA analysis technique. They found that the maternal genetic diversity of the hanging coffin people in Northwest Yunnan was very high, while the genetic diversity of the hanging coffin people in northern Thailand was relatively low. This result is consistent with the view that the hanging coffin burial custom originated in southern China and spread southward to Southeast Asia. In addition, a small number of matrilineal lineages were shared among the hanging coffin people in different regions of Asia, indicating that there is a very close relationship between different hanging coffin people. Combining the results of genetic analysis with the evidences of archaeology, physical anthropology, folklore and history, they speculated that the hanging coffin burial custom originated in the Baiyue ethnic group in the southeast coastal areas of China (such as Wuyishan area) about 3600 years ago, and they are the ancestors of the Dai ethnic group with many ethnic groups. After that, the custom of hanging coffin was widely spread in South China by means of people migration and flow. However, about 2000 years ago (the earliest time of hanging coffin burial in Thailand), a very small number of inheritors of hanging coffin burial spread the custom to some aboriginal groups in Southeast Asia, such as northern Thailand, by means of cultural diffusion.

This study only makes a preliminary discussion from the perspective of maternal genetic lineage. For the hanging coffin culture which has spread for more than 3000 years in South China, Southeast Asia and the vast area of the Pacific Islands, the origin and development of its culture and the history of its inheritors may be more complex. In the future, more representative samples of human remains buried in a hanging coffin will be used, from the perspective of genomic DNA and paternal Y-DNA, combined with interdisciplinary research, which will provide more systematic evidence support for a more comprehensive display of the historical and cultural features of the hanging coffin burial custom.

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Qi, X. (2021). Mitochondrial genome data of ancient DNA from hanging coffins in East Asia. National Tibetan Plateau Data Center, DOI: 10.11888/Ecolo.tpdc.271199. CSTR: 18406.11.Ecolo.tpdc.271199. (Download the reference: RIS | Bibtex )

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References literature

1.Zhang, X., Li, C., Zhou, Y., Huang, J., Yu, T., Liu, X., Shi, H., Liu, H., Chia, S., Huang, S., Guo, Y., Shoocongdej, R., Ji, X. & Su, B. (2020). A Matrilineal Genetic Perspective of Hanging Coffin Custom in Southern China and Northern Thailand. iScience 23, 101032. (View Details )

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Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road-A CAS Strategic Priority A Program (No:XDA20000000)

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Geographic coverage
  • Temporal resolution: 1000 year < x
  • Spatial resolution: 100km - 1000km
  • File size: 0.3 MB
  • Views: 892
  • Downloads: 139
  • Access: Open Access
  • Temporal coverage: For 3000 years
  • Updated time: 2021-11-30
: QI Xuebin  

Distributor: National Tibetan Plateau Data Center


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