Ancient skulls give clues to China human history

Mar 3, 2017

By Paul Rincon

Two skulls found in China shed light on the ancient humans who inhabited the region before our own species arrived.

We know that Europe and western Asia was dominated by the Neanderthals before Homo sapiens displaced them.

But remains belonging to equivalent populations in East and Central Asia have been scarce.

It’s unclear if the finds are linked to the Denisovans, a mysterious human group known only from DNA analysis of a tooth and finger bone from Siberia.

Prof Erik Trinkaus, one of the authors of a study on the remains in Science journal, said it was not possible to say at this stage whether the ancient people from Xuchang were connected to the Denisovans.

“The issue here is the patterns of variation and the population dynamics of ‘archaic’ populations during the later part of the Pleistocene,” Prof Trinkaus, from Washington University in St Louis, told BBC News.

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2 comments on “Ancient skulls give clues to China human history

  • @OP – Prof Erik Trinkaus, one of the authors of a study on the remains in Science journal, said it was not possible to say at this stage whether the ancient people from Xuchang were connected to the Denisovans.

    If would certainly fill in some gaps, if more parts of Denisovan skeletons were to be found.



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  • As more ancient Hominids are found, it is becoming increasingly obvious that, as would be expected in evolution, there were various branching species of ancient of Homo.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rising_Star_Cave

    On 1 October 2013, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger was notified of the find, and he organized an expedition to excavate the fossils, which started on 7 November 2013.[9] The expedition was funded by the South African National Research Foundation and the National Geographic Society.[10][11]

    The excavation team enlisted six paleoanthropologists, all of whom were female, who could pass through an opening only 18 cm (7 inches) wide to access the Dinaledi Chamber.[9][12][13] Those chosen were Hannah Morris, Marina Elliott, Becca Peixotto, Alia Gurtov, Lindsay Eaves, and Elen Feuerriegel.[14] They have since been nicknamed the Underground Astronauts.

    There were also fossils found together at the bottom of the Malapa Cave, where fossil bones of Australopithecus sediba were found by paleoanthropologist Lee Berger’s nine-year-old son,



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