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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14375-80. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208104109. Epub 2012 Aug 20.

Anatomically modern human in Southeast Asia (Laos) by 46 ka.

Author information

1
Department Homme Nature Société, National Museum of Natural History, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7206/Unité Scientifique du Muséum 104, 75005 Paris France. demeter@mnhn.fr

Abstract

Uncertainties surround the timing of modern human emergence and occupation in East and Southeast Asia. Although genetic and archeological data indicate a rapid migration out of Africa and into Southeast Asia by at least 60 ka, mainland Southeast Asia is notable for its absence of fossil evidence for early modern human occupation. Here we report on a modern human cranium from Tam Pa Ling, Laos, which was recovered from a secure stratigraphic context. Radiocarbon and luminescence dating of the surrounding sediments provide a minimum age of 51-46 ka, and direct U-dating of the bone indicates a maximum age of ~63 ka. The cranium has a derived modern human morphology in features of the frontal, occipital, maxillae, and dentition. It is also differentiated from western Eurasian archaic humans in aspects of its temporal, occipital, and dental morphology. In the context of an increasingly documented archaic-modern morphological mosaic among the earliest modern humans in western Eurasia, Tam Pa Ling establishes a definitively modern population in Southeast Asia at ~50 ka cal BP. As such, it provides the earliest skeletal evidence for fully modern humans in mainland Southeast Asia.

PMID:
22908291
PMCID:
PMC3437904
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1208104109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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