April 21, 2005

The dating of Liujiang

Liujiang (pictured below, from Peter Brown's page) is the earliest anatomically modern human from East Asia.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Journal of Human Evolution
Volume 43, Issue 6 , December 2002, Pages 817-829

U-Series dating of Liujiang hominid site in Guangxi, Southern China

Guanjun Shen et al.


It has been established that modern humans were living in the Levant and Africa ca. 100 ka ago. Hitherto, this has contrasted with the situation in China where no unequivocal specimens of this species have been securely dated to more than 30 ka. Here we present the results of stratigraphic studies and U-series dating of the Tongtianyan Cave, the discovery site of the Liujiang hominid, which represents one of the few well-preserved fossils of modern Homo sapiens in China. The human fossils are inferred to come from either a refilling breccia or a primarily deposited gravel-bearing sandy clay layer. In the former case, which is better supported, the fossils would date to at least ~68 ka, but more likely to ~111–139 ka. Alternatively, they would be older than ~153 ka. Both scenarios would make the Liujiang hominid one of the earliest modern humans in East Asia, possibly contemporaneous with the earliest known representatives from the Levant and Africa. Parallel studies on other Chinese localities have provided supporting evidence for the redating of Liujiang, which may have important implications for the origin of modern humans.


No comments: