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J Hum Evol. 2007 Dec;53(6):709-17. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

Age and biostratigraphic significance of the Punung Rainforest Fauna, East Java, Indonesia, and implications for Pongo and Homo.

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GeoQuEST Research Centre, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.


The Punung Fauna is a key component in the biostratigraphic sequence of Java. It represents the most significant faunal turnover on the island in the last 1.5 million years, when Stegodon and other archaic mammal species characteristic of earlier Faunal stages were replaced by a fully modern fauna that included rainforest-dependent species such as Pongo pygmaeus (orangutan). Here, we report the first numerical ages for the Punung Fauna obtained by luminescence and uranium-series dating of the fossil-bearing deposits and associated flowstones. The Punung Fauna contained in the dated breccia is of early Last Interglacial age (between 128+/-15 and 118+/-3 ka). This result has implications for the age of the preceding Ngandong Fauna, including Homo erectus remains found in the Ngandong Terrace, and for the timing of Homo sapiens arrival in Southeast Asia, in view of claims for a modern human tooth associated with the Punung breccia.

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