Feeds

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

Modern humans invaded continent earlier than thought

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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 ®.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.