The skeleton of Dushan 1 offers new perspectives on the settlement of Homo sapiens in China

Related Articles

Related Articles

A paper published on the skeletal remains found in Dushan Cave, in Linfeng, southern China, has revealed dental characteristics which are surprising for an Upper Paleolithic population.

To find these traits, it is very often necessary to go back to the earliest representatives of the genus Homo and even to Australopithecus.

The participants in this study include María Martinón Torres and José María Bermúdez de Castro, of the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), who explain that: “It isn’t that these traits have disappeared completely from modern populations in China, but rather that their presence together in the individual known as Dushan 1 confers a certain primitive aspect on their dentition”.

There exists the possibility that Dushan 1, whose remains have been dated to between 15,280 and 12,765 years old, represents the normal variability within a little-known population in a vast territory. It would be possible to test this hypothesis with new studies of populations from the same period.

“Perhaps we find here a case of prolonged isolation of a group within a certain territory, in which primitive characteristics of the first representatives of Homo sapiens in China have been retained”, remarks Bermúdez de Castro.

Finally, interbreeding of the first Homo sapiens with resident ancestral groups is another possible explanation. The descendants of this hybridization would have survived until the end of the Pleistocene, showing in their dental apparatus the evidence of a highly particular evolutionary history.


Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

Chinese Pleistocene

The variability among the Pleistocene humans of China is less well known than that of Africans and Europeans. Nevertheless, the balance is shifting little by little. The oldest fossils are becoming better known, and their interpretation has already been covered by the general models. It may be that the greatest problem lies in studying the more recent populations from the end of the Pleistocene, as these have held less interest for international experts.

“The skeleton of Dushan 1 makes it very possible that we will start to show more interest in this little-known epoch of the Chinese Pleistocene. We are aware that there remains much to be learned about the peculiar dynamic of the populations of our species, which moved out of Africa to colonize the whole planet”, concludes Martinón Torres.

Header Image – Upper (left) and lower (right) dentition of Dushan 1/Wei Liao

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Volubilis – The Ancient Berber City

Volubilis is an archaeological site and ancient Berber city that many archaeologists believe was the capital of the Kingdom of Mauretania.

Pella – Birthplace of Alexander The Great

Pella is an archaeological site and the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon.

New Argentine fossils uncover history of celebrated conifer group

Newly unearthed, surprisingly well-preserved conifer fossils from Patagonia, Argentina, show that an endangered and celebrated group of tropical West Pacific trees has roots in the ancient supercontinent that once comprised Australia, Antarctica and South America, according to an international team of researchers.

High-tech CT reveals ancient evolutionary adaptation of extinct crocodylomorphs

The tree of life is rich in examples of species that changed from living in water to a land-based existence.

Fish fossils become buried treasure

Rare metals crucial to green industries turn out to have a surprising origin. Ancient global climate change and certain kinds of undersea geology drove fish populations to specific locations.

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toilet in Denmark

Archaeologists excavating a settlement on the Stevns Peninsula in Denmark suggests they have discovered a toilet from the Viking Age.

Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon, study shows

Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows.

Lost Shiva Temple Buried in Sand Discovered by Local Villagers

Villagers from the Perumallapadu village in the Pradesh’s Nellore district of India have unearthed the 300-year-old Temple of Nageswara Swamy on the banks of the Penna River.

Ma’rib – Capital of the Kingdom of Saba

Ma'rib is an archaeological site and former capital of the ancient kingdom of Saba in modern-day Ma'rib in Yemen

Giant Egg Discovered in Antarctica Belonged to Marine Reptile

A large fossil discovered in Antarctica by Chilean researchers in 2011 has been found to be a giant, soft-shell egg from 66 million years ago.

Popular stories