Feeds

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

Modern humans invaded continent earlier than thought

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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 ®.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.