Hanging Coffin is a unique and ancient burial custom that has been practiced in southern China, Southeast Asia, and near Oceania regions for more than 3,000 years. Here, we conducted mitochondrial
whole-genome analyses of 41 human remains sampled from 13 Hanging Coffin sites in southern China
and northern Thailand, which were dated between 2,500 and 660 years before present. We found
that there were genetic connections between the Hanging Coffin people living in different geographic
regions. Notably, the matrilineal genetic diversity of the Hanging Coffin people from southern China is
much higher than those from northern Thailand, consistent with the hypothesized single origin of the
Hanging Coffin custom in southern China about 3,600 years ago, followed by its dispersal in southern
China through demic diffusion, whereas the major dispersal pattern in Southeast Asia is cultural assimilation in the past 2,000 years.