Saturday, September 27, 2014

Human teeth at dig put modern humans in China 70,000 to 126,000 years ago

Humans are a traveling species, and maybe they always have been.

New evidence suggests that humans—or something very close to humans—traveled out of Africa and into Asia far, far earlier than most modern models suggests. 

(Images: Two teeth that appear likely to be from anatomically modern humans; paleoanthropologist Christopher Bae at a fossil dig. Credit: University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.)

University of Hawai`i paleoanthropologist Christopher Bae, is the lead author on a paper that reports on human remains from China that date back roughly 125,000 years.

(Citation: Christopher J. Bae, Wei Wang, Jianxin Zhao, Shengming Huang, Feng Tian and Guanjun Shen, Modern human teeth from Late Pleistocene Luna Cave [Guangxi, China], DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.06.051)

Current theory has modern humans leaving Africa 60,000 years ago, but Bae and his co-authors found human teeth dating to between 70 and 126,000 years ago. They found the material in the Lunadong cave in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, north of Vietnam.

It suggests there was not just one Out of Africa migration, but at least two, and possibly several.

“The findings from the Lunadong study clearly indicate that certain aspects of the Out of Africa model need to be rethought. That is, that there was at least one other earlier Out of Africa migration event that predated 60,000 years ago. 

“This paleoanthropological find, in addition to other recent studies from western and southern Asia, suggest that modern humans may have dispersed out of Africa in multiple waves rather than as one major single migration event 60,000 years ago as commonly thought,” said Bae, in aUniversity of Hawai`i press release.

There were numerous other human-like creatures traveling the world from their African homeland far earlier than this. Neandertals, Homo erectus and others were clearly moving across the landscape. Peking Man, whose remains were found in the 1920s near Beijing, dates to more than half a million years ago. He is considered a variety of Homo erectus.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2014

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