Modern humans emerged far earlier than thought, fossils in China suggest

Posted By: Nairita Das
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Washington, Oct 26 (ANI): Researchers have discovered well-dated human fossils in southern China that markedly change anthropologists' perceptions of the emergence of modern humans in the eastern Old World.

The discovery of early modern human fossil remains in the Zhirendong (Zhiren Cave) in south China that are at least 100,000 years old provides the earliest evidence for the emergence of modern humans in eastern Asia, at least 60,000 years older than the previously known modern humans in the region.

"These fossils are helping to redefine our perceptions of modern human emergence in eastern Eurasia, and across the Old World more generally," said Eric Trinkaus of the Mary Tileston Hemenway.

The Zhirendong fossils have a mixture of modern and archaic features that contrasts with earlier modern humans in east Africa and southwest Asia, indicating some degree of human population continuity in Asia with the emergence of modern humans.

The Zhirendong humans indicate that the spread of modern human biology long preceded the cultural and technological innovations of the Upper Paleolithic and that early modern humans co-existed for many tens of millennia with late archaic humans further north and west across Eurasia.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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