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PLoS One. 2015 Dec 17;10(12):e0143332. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143332. eCollection 2015.

A Hominin Femur with Archaic Affinities from the Late Pleistocene of Southwest China.

Author information

1
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
2
Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Kunming, Yunnan, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
4
Mengzi Institute of Cultural Relics, Mengzi, Yunnan, China.
5
Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit, School of Humanities, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

The number of Late Pleistocene hominin species and the timing of their extinction are issues receiving renewed attention following genomic evidence for interbreeding between the ancestors of some living humans and archaic taxa. Yet, major gaps in the fossil record and uncertainties surrounding the age of key fossils have meant that these questions remain poorly understood. Here we describe and compare a highly unusual femur from Late Pleistocene sediments at Maludong (Yunnan), Southwest China, recovered along with cranial remains that exhibit a mixture of anatomically modern human and archaic traits. Our studies show that the Maludong femur has affinities to archaic hominins, especially Lower Pleistocene femora. However, the scarcity of later Middle and Late Pleistocene archaic remains in East Asia makes an assessment of systematically relevant character states difficult, warranting caution in assigning the specimen to a species at this time. The Maludong fossil probably samples an archaic population that survived until around 14,000 years ago in the biogeographically complex region of Southwest China.

PMID:
26678851
PMCID:
PMC4683062
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0143332
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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