A new Type of Human in Southwest China?

Simulation of the man found in Longlin en in Maludong 1 in Southwest China

Simulation of the man found in Longlin en in Maludong 1 in Southwest China

Finds discovered in in two places in Southwest China, Longlin and Maludong 1, point towards a type of human that had both modern and archaic characteristics.

On 14 March 2012, it was announced that a find in Southwest China could represent a new type of man. The results of the investigation of a partial skull found in a Longlin Cave (Guangxi) was announced together with those of Maludong (Yunnan) where multiple human bones were found. The finds are between 14,300 and 11,500 years old. According to the researchers they belonged to the same type of man, who had mix of modern and archaic characteristics. Archaic are e.g. the big eyebrow arches and no chin. Modern is that the front part of the skull indicates a frontal brain development.
The authors give two possible explanations:
– These were late survivors of an archaic population such as were also found in North Africa in Dar-es-Soltane and Temara (The authors compare a similar situation, not the remains) and perhaps also in China in Zhirendong.
– East Asia may have been colonized by humans in different waves. The finds of Maludong and Longlin could be of a type that had come from Africa before for Homo sapiens was the most important human living there.
On the BBC Isabel de Groot spoke about a third possibility: the finds in China are the result of a mixture of an old archaic population and modern people (sapiens).

A skull found in  Longlin

A skull found in Longlin

I think that these three explanations are thre possibilities, even in combination. Speaking of a new type of human seems to be premature. The researchers will try to extract DNA from the bones. If they would succeed multiple questions might be solved at once. Which would inevitably raise new questions.

Source: Darren Curnoe et al. , Human Remains from the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition of Southwest China Suggest a Complex Evolutionary History for East Asians,  PLoS ONE 7(3): e31918. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031918

marc.vermeersch@gmail.com

About older types of humans in China:
Marc Vermeersch. De geschiedenis van de mens. Deel I. Jagers en verzamelaars. – Boek 1, van Pan tot Homo sapiens. p.112-113; 156-161; 165-166; 181;219-220.
– Boek 2, de maatschappij van -jagers en verzamelaars. , p.44; p.159-160.