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Concept: Yunnan


The number of Late Pleistocene hominin species and the timing of their extinction are issues receiving renewed attention following genomic evidence for interbreeding between the ancestors of some living humans and archaic taxa. Yet, major gaps in the fossil record and uncertainties surrounding the age of key fossils have meant that these questions remain poorly understood. Here we describe and compare a highly unusual femur from Late Pleistocene sediments at Maludong (Yunnan), Southwest China, recovered along with cranial remains that exhibit a mixture of anatomically modern human and archaic traits. Our studies show that the Maludong femur has affinities to archaic hominins, especially Lower Pleistocene femora. However, the scarcity of later Middle and Late Pleistocene archaic remains in East Asia makes an assessment of systematically relevant character states difficult, warranting caution in assigning the specimen to a species at this time. The Maludong fossil probably samples an archaic population that survived until around 14,000 years ago in the biogeographically complex region of Southwest China.

Concepts: Humans, Dinosaur, Yunnan, Fossil, Evolution, Human evolution, Human


The Lufeng Formation in Lufeng Basin of Yunnan Province, southwestern China preserves one of the richest terrestrial Lower Jurassic vertebrate faunas globally, especially for its basal sauropodomorphs, such as Lufengosaurus and Yunnanosaurus. Here we report a new taxon, Xingxiulong chengi gen. et sp. nov. represented by three partial skeletons with overlapping elements. Xingxiulong possesses a number of autapomorphies, such as transversely expanded plate-like summit on top of the neural spine of posterior dorsal vertebrae, four sacral vertebrae, robust scapula, and elongated pubic plate approximately 40% of the total length of the pubis. Phylogenetic analysis resolves Xingxiulong as a basal member of Sauropodiformes, and together with another two Lufeng basal sauropodiforms Jingshanosaurus and Yunnanosaurus, they represent the basalmost lineages of this clade, indicating its Asian origin. Although being relatively primitive, Xingxiulong displays some derived features normally occurred in advanced sauropodiforms including sauropods, such as a four sacral-sacrum, a robust scapula, and a pubis with elongated pubic plate. The discovery of Xingxiulong increases the diversity of basal sauropodomorphs from the Lufeng Formation and indicates a more complicated scenario in the early evolution of sauropodiforms.

Concepts: Vertebra, Cladistics, Phylogenetic nomenclature, Pelvis, Kunming, Yunnan, Prosauropoda, Dinosaur


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analyzed for 136 indoor dust samples collected from Guizhou province, southwest of China. The ∑18PAHs concentrations ranged from 2.18 μg•g-1 to 14.20 μg•g-1 with the mean value of 6.78 μg•g-1. The highest Σ18PAHs concentration was found in dust samples from orefields, followed by city, town and village. Moreover, the mean concentration of Σ18PAHs in indoor dust was at least 10% higher than that of outdoors. The 4-6 rings PAHs, contributing more than 70% of ∑18PAHs, were the dominant species. PAHs ratios, principal component analysis with multiple linear regression (PCA-MLR) and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) were applied to evaluate the possible sources. Two major origins of PAHs in indoor dust were identified as vehicle emissions and coal combustion. The mean incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) due to human exposure to indoor dust PAHs in city, town, village and orefield of Guizhou province, China was 6.14×10-6, 5.00×10-6, 3.08×10-6, 6.02×10-6 for children and 5.92×10-6, 4.83×10-6, 2.97×10-6, 5.81×10-6 for adults, respectively.

Concepts: Arithmetic mean, Regression analysis, Aromaticity, Principal component analysis, Yunnan, Naphthalene, Southwest China, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon


Peach (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is an extremely popular tree fruit worldwide, with an annual production near 20 million tons. Peach is widely thought to have origins in China, but its evolutionary history is largely unknown. The oldest evidence for the peach has been Chinese archaeological records dating to 8000-7000 BP. Here, we report eight fossil peach endocarps from late Pliocene strata of Kunming City, Yunnan, southwestern China. The fossils are identical to modern peach endocarps, including size comparable to smaller modern varieties, a single seed, a deep dorsal groove, and presence of deep pits and furrows. These fossils show that China has been a critical region for peach evolution since long before human presence, much less agriculture. Peaches evolved their modern morphology under natural selection, presumably involving large, frugivorous mammals such as primates. Much later, peach size and variety increased through domestication and breeding.

Concepts: Apricot, Paleontology, Kunming, Rosaceae, Prunus, Yunnan, Peach, Evolution


Geochemical measurements on well-dated sediment cores from Lake Er (Erhai) are used to determine the timing of changes in metal concentrations over 4,500 years in Yunnan, a borderland region in southwestern China noted for rich mineral deposits, but inadequately documented metallurgical history. Our findings add new insight to the impacts and environmental legacy of human exploitation of metal resources in Yunnan history. We observe an increase in copper at 1500 BC resulting from atmospheric emissions associated with metallurgy. These data clarify the chronological issues related to links between the onset of Yunnan metallurgy and the advent of bronze technology in adjacent Southeast Asia, subjects that have been debated for nearly half a century. We also observe an increase from 1100 to 1300 AD in a number of heavy metals including lead, silver, zinc, and cadmium from atmospheric emissions associated with silver smelting. Culminating during the rule of the Mongols, known as the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368 CE), these metal concentrations approach levels three to four times higher than those from industrialized mining activity occurring within the catchment. Notably, the concentrations of lead approach levels at which harmful effects may be observed in aquatic organisms. The persistence of this lead pollution over time created an environmental legacy that likely contributes to known issues in modern-day sediment quality. We demonstrate that historic metallurgical production in Yunnan can cause substantial impacts on the sediment quality of lake systems, similar to other paleolimnological findings around the globe.

Concepts: Heavy metal music, Genghis Khan, Zinc, Metal, Mongol Empire, Lead, Copper, Yunnan


Leprosy continues to be detected at near stable rates in China even with established control programs, necessitating new knowledge and alternative methods to interrupt transmission. A molecular epidemiology investigation of 190 patients was undertaken to define M. leprae strain types and discern genetic relationships and clusters in endemic and non-endemic regions spanning seventeen provinces and two autonomous regions. The findings support multiple locus variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis as a useful tool in uncovering characteristic patterns across the multiethnic and divergent geographic landscape of China. Several scenarios of clustering of leprosy from township to provincial to regional levels were recognized, while recent occupational or remote migration showed geographical separation of certain strains. First, prior studies indicated that of the four major M. leprae subtypes defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), only type 3 was present in China, purportedly entering from Europe/West/Central Asia via the Silk Road. However, this study revealed VNTR linked strains that are of type 1 in Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi in southern China. Second, a subset of VNTR distinguishable strains of type 3, co-exist in these provinces. Third, type 3 strains with rpoT VNTR allele of 4, detected in Japan and Korea were discovered in Jiangsu and Anhui in the east and in western Sichuan bordering Tibet. Fourth, considering the overall genetic diversity, strains of endemic counties of Qiubei, Yunnan; Xing Yi, Guizhou; and across Sichuan in southwest were related. However, closer inspection showed distinct local strains and clusters. Altogether, these insights, primarily derived from VNTR typing, reveal multiple and overlooked paths for spread of leprosy into, within and out of China and invoke attention to historic maritime routes in the South and East China Sea. More importantly, new concepts and approaches for prospective case finding and tracking of leprosy from county to national level have been introduced.

Concepts: Single-nucleotide polymorphism, Guangdong, Yuan Dynasty, Yi people, Yunnan, East China Sea, China, Yangtze River


Beauveria bassiana is an important entomopathogenic fungus that not only often causes infection and epidemics of wild insects but some strains also show pathogenicity to the silkworm, Bombyx mori. The present study is about diversity of B. bassiana isolated from the silkworm in southwest China. Five strains of B. bassiana were isolated from infected silkworm. Two isolates, GXtr1009 and GXtr1010, were isolated from infected silkworms treated with two kinds of biological pesticides applied in Guangxi province, and three isolates, SCsk1006, YNsk1106 and GXsk1011, were collected from naturally infected silkworms from different geographical locations in Yunnan and Sichuan. All of the isolates showed highly similar conidia and conidial fructification, but the colony characteristics demonstrated great differences among the isolates. The ITS and 18S rDNA sequence analysis was sufficient to identify all five isolates as B. bassiana. However, the dendrogram, based on the ISSR data, produced two large genetic groups. GXtr1009 and GXtr1010 comprised one group, and SCsk1006, YNsk1106 and GXsk1011 converged in a different large group. The results suggested that, although all of these five B. bassiana strains were pathogenic to silkworms, strains of biological pesticides could be differentiated from strains of naturally infected silkworm via ISSR analysis.

Concepts: Beauveria bassiana, Bombyx mandarina, Fungus, Guizhou, Bombyx, Bombycidae, Bombyx mori, Yunnan


A number of 100 Pu-erh tea samples from the 2013 harvest in Yunnan Province (China) were analyzed for 74 pesticides. A total of 11 pesticides were detected. At least 1 pesticide was detected in 56% of the samples. None of the samples contained the 74 monitored pesticides at concentrations above Chinese maximum residual levels. Imidacloprid, bifenthrin and acetamiprid were most frequently found, with percentages of 53%, 46%, and 31%, respectively. These were also the top 3 pesticides with maximum concentrations of 140 μg kg(-1), 246 μg kg(-1) and 672 μg kg(-1), respectively. Residual levels of the monitored pesticides showed no significant correlation with the production time or area of Pu-er tea. Whereas a high incidence of pesticide residues was detected in Pu-erh tea, the contamination levels observed do not pose serious health risks.

Concepts: Black tea, Post-fermented tea, Oolong, Camellia sinensis, Insecticide, Tea, Pu-erh tea, Yunnan


The purpose of the study was to analyze the features of arthropathic changes and functional impairments as well as the correlations between them for adult patients suffered with Kashin-Beck disease (KBD) in Aba Tibetan area of Sichuan Province, China.

Concepts: Chengdu, Chongqing, Tibet, Tibetan people, Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, Sichuan, Tibet Autonomous Region


Trombiculid mites (or chigger mites) are a large group of arthropods, and some of these species are vectors of Orientia tsutsugamushi, the causative agent of tsutsugamushi disease (scrub typhus). Yunnan Province is situated in the southwest of China, and its complicated topography, special altitude gradients, and high biodiversity have aroused the interest of many scientists to study the fauna and species diversity of plants and animals. To replenish our former faunal study, this paper listed all the scientific names of trombiculid mites in Yunnan Province, together with their hosts and collection sites (geographical distribution). A total of 120,138 individuals of trombiculid mites were collected from the body surface of 13,760 small mammal hosts (89.06 % of them are rodents) in 29 collection sites (counties) of Yunnan Province from 2001 to 2013. The 120,138 mites were identified as comprising 2 families (Trombiculidae and Leeuwenhoekiidae), 26 genera, and 274 species. The genus Leptotrombidium had the most abundant species (109 species) of 26 genera. Of the six main vectors of scrub typhus in China, five of them were found in Yunnan. Of the 274 chigger mite species, 23 were determined as the newly recorded species (new records), which were found in Yunnan Province for the first time. The identified 274 species of trombiculid mites in the present paper are much more than those from other provinces in China and even largely exceeded the species of trombiculid mites recorded from some other regions and countries in the world. Based on the formula of Chao 1, the total number of chigger mite species in Yunnan was approximately estimated to be 346 species, and about 72 species might have been missed in our sampling process.

Concepts: Scrub typhus, Yunnan, Biodiversity, Harvest mite, Southwest China, Mammal, Kunming, Orientia tsutsugamushi