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Nature. 2018 Jul;559(7715):608-612. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0299-4. Epub 2018 Jul 11.

Hominin occupation of the Chinese Loess Plateau since about 2.1 million years ago.

Zhu Z1,2, Dennell R3, Huang W4,5, Wu Y6, Qiu S7, Yang S5,8, Rao Z9, Hou Y4,5, Xie J10, Han J11, Ouyang T12,13.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Ocean and Marginal Sea Geology, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China. zhuzy@gig.ac.cn.
2
State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China. zhuzy@gig.ac.cn.
3
Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK. r.w.dennell@exeter.ac.uk.
4
State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China.
5
Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
6
Key Laboratory of Ocean and Marginal Sea Geology, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.
7
School of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Gannan Normal University, Ganzhou, China.
8
State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
9
College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China.
10
Environmental Supervision Detachment of Nanning, Nanning, China.
11
Henan Institute of Geological Survey, Zhengzhou, China.
12
Key Laboratory of Ocean and Marginal Sea Geology, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.
13
School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

Abstract

Considerable attention has been paid to dating the earliest appearance of hominins outside Africa. The earliest skeletal and artefactual evidence for the genus Homo in Asia currently comes from Dmanisi, Georgia, and is dated to approximately 1.77-1.85 million years ago (Ma)1. Two incisors that may belong to Homo erectus come from Yuanmou, south China, and are dated to 1.7 Ma2; the next-oldest evidence is an H. erectus cranium from Lantian (Gongwangling)-which has recently been dated to 1.63 Ma3-and the earliest hominin fossils from the Sangiran dome in Java, which are dated to about 1.5-1.6 Ma4. Artefacts from Majuangou III5 and Shangshazui6 in the Nihewan basin, north China, have also been dated to 1.6-1.7 Ma. Here we report an Early Pleistocene and largely continuous artefact sequence from Shangchen, which is a newly discovered Palaeolithic locality of the southern Chinese Loess Plateau, near Gongwangling in Lantian county. The site contains 17 artefact layers that extend from palaeosol S15-dated to approximately 1.26 Ma-to loess L28, which we date to about 2.12 Ma. This discovery implies that hominins left Africa earlier than indicated by the evidence from Dmanisi.

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PMID:
29995848
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-018-0299-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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