Title

An early modern human from Tianyuan Cave, Zhoukoudian, China

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Publisher

National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date

April 2007

Abstract

Thirty-four elements of an early modern human (EMH) were found in Tianyuan Cave, Zhoukoudian, China in 2003. Dated to 42,000–39,000 calendrical years before present by using direct accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon, the Tianyuan 1 skeleton is among the oldest directly dated EMHs in eastern Eurasia. Morphological comparison shows Tianyuan 1 to have a series of derived modern human characteristics, including a projecting tuber symphyseos, a high anterior symphyseal angle, a broad scapular glenoid fossa, a reduced hamulus, a gluteal buttress, and a pilaster on the femora. Other features of Tianyuan 1 that are more common among EMHs are its modest humeral pectoralis major tuberosities, anteriorly rotated radial tuberosity, reduced radial curvature, and modest talar trochlea. It also lacks several mandibular features common among western Eurasian late archaic humans, including mandibular foramen bridging, mandibular notch asymmetry, and a large superior medial pterygoid tubercle. However, Tianyuan 1 exhibits several late archaic human features, such as its anterior to posterior dental proportions, a large hamulus length, and a broad and rounded distal phalangeal tuberosity. This morphological pattern implies that a simple spread of modern humans from Africa is unlikely.

Keywords

Late Pleistocene, Neandertals, Mandible, Postcrania, Paleopathology

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RDA

Subject: topical

Late Pleistocene; Neandertals; Mandible; Postcrania; Paleopathology

Type

Article

Genre

serial

Identifier

SFS0063042_00001

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