Monday, April 02, 2007

Modern humans in China - they did exist!   posted by Razib @ 4/02/2007 05:59:00 PM

There's a new article that's going to come out in PNAS which reports the discovery of a find which exhibits predominantly modern human morphology with some archaic features, and those archaic features seem to be derived from local hominid populations. They've dated it to around ~40,000 years ago, which is important since East Asia is something of a black hole in regards to archaic H. sapiens (i.e., there's some very ancient erectus finds like Peking Man from millions of years in the past, and recent human reminds from the past 10,000 years, but little which sketches out the past few hundred thousand years). The BBC has the best write up so far. Don't believe the stuff about "debunking Out of Africa," one fossil does not a paradigm shatter. Rather, I think these finds are pretty good evidence for genetic assimilation of archaic substratum into the expanding wave of Africans. An important background fact to keep in mind: H. erectus and direct descendants of the original erectine populations were resident in East Asia until a rather recent period. One line of thought connects the extinction of erectus populations explicitly with the Out of Africa burst presumed to have occurred around 50,000 years ago.

Update: Science has a nice summary.

Related: Of lice & men. Erectine harems.

Update: John Hawks weighs in.

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