Feeds

Creepy skull find proves Man penetrated Asia 60,000 years ago

Modern humans invaded continent earlier than thought

Top three mobile application threats

Pic Bone-bothering boffins have stumbled across an ancient skull in a Laos cave that puts modern human migration through Southeast Asia 20,000 years sooner than previously thought.

Ancient skull found in cave in northern Laos

The oldest human skull to be found in Asia, estimated at around 63,000 years old, was found in a cave in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos in 2009 and it pushes back the clock on when ancient wanderers from Africa left the coast and moved inland.

"It's a particularly old modern human fossil and it's also a particularly old modern human for that region," said Laura Shackelford, University of Illinois anthropologist. "There are other modern human fossils in China or in Island Southeast Asia that may be around the same age but they either are not well dated or they do not show definitively modern human features. This skull is very well dated and shows very conclusive modern human features."

The location of the find shows that early modern humans didn't just go along the coast to the islands of Southeast Asia and on to Australia as other boffins have suggested, but also moved north into different terrain.

"This fossil find indicates that the migration out of Africa and into east and Southeast Asia occurred at a relatively rapid rate, and that, once there, modern humans weren't limited to environments that they had previously experienced," she said. "We now have the fossil evidence to prove that they were there long before we thought they were there."

On top of that, the ancient skull shows that modern humans were in that part of the world at least 60,000 years ago.

Radiocarbon dating and luminescence techniques dated the soil above, below and around the skull, which was found nearly 2.5m below the surface of the cave. The dirt was put at between 46,000 and 51,000 years old. But uranium/thorium dating puts the skull's age at around 63,000 years old.

The bone boffins reckon the skull date is right because they didn't find any other artefacts with the remains, suggesting that the cave wasn't a dwelling or a burial site but that the body washed into the cave at some point.

The paper on the ancient migrant was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ®.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.