In 2003, 34 fragments of a human skeleton, whose age was estimated at 39–42 ka, were found at Taniuan Cave near Zhoukoudian; the site was designated as Zhoukoudian Locality 27 (Shang et al., 2007; Trinkaus, Shang, 2008; Hu et al., 2009). The principal morphological characteristics including pedal ones, pointing to the use of footwear, and diet are basically modern.


Nothing in the abundant archaeological record is suggestive of any migration to China from the west in the 120–30 ka BP time range. Given the similarity of Paleolithic industries in the East and Southeast Asia and their distinction from those of the adjacent western regions, it can be stated that in the late Middle Pleistocene or in the early Upper Pleistocene, anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens orientalensis, originated in East and Southeast Asia as well as in Africa.


In sum, in the author’s opinion, the material available, both archaeological and skeletal, is sufficient to claim that the migration wave of modern humans from Africa had not reached the Pacific coast. The evolution of Paleolithic industries in East and Southeast Asia in the 100–30 ka BP range proceeded quite differently from the way it developed in other regions of Asia or in Africa, making it possible to speak of a distinct Sino-Malayan scenario of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition and of the emergence, through in situ evolution, of a separate variety of anatomically modern humans in East and Southeast Asia – Homo sapiens orientalensis.




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