Recent Human Evolution in East Asia and Australasia
In both East Asia and Australasia arguments for evolutionary continuity between middle-late Pleistocene hominid populations and modern Homo sapiens are of long standing. In both regions, however, problems of chronological distribution, dating and preservation of hominid skeletal materials provide an effective barrier to extending regional sequences back to `archaic' Homo sapiens or Homo erectus. The earliest securely dated modern Homo sapiens in East Asia are currently represented by Zhoukoudian Upper Cave at a minimum of 29 ka BP. In Australia skeletal remains of modern Homo sapiens have been dated to 26 ka BP, with archaeological materials at 38 to 50 ka BP. Late Pleistocene human skeletons from sites like Coobool Creek are morphologically and metrically outside the range of recent Australian Aboriginal populations. Similarly Liujiang and the Upper Cave crania can be distinguished from recent East Asian `Mongoloids'. Evolutionary change within the Holocene needs to be taken into consideration when the evidence for regional evolutionary continuity is considered.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- August 1992