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New Fossil Bombshell


Prehistoric man walked side by side of modern homo sapiens in China.

From LiveScience.com…

The Red Deer Cave people lived in China at the end of the ice age. “They survived the final and one of the worst cold episodes, known as the Last Glacial Maximum, which ended around 20,000 years ago,” Curnoe said.

“The period around 15,000 to 11,000 years ago when they thrived in southwest China is known as the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, and it saw a shift to climates and ecological communities the same as those of today,” Curnoe added. “It also saw the demise of the megafaunain most places, including a giant deer that was exploited by the Red Deer Cave people and recovered in large numbers from the Maludong site.”

“This time also saw a major shift in the behavior of modern humans in southern China, who began to make pottery for food storage and to gather wild rice — this marks some of the first steps towards full-blown farming,” Curnoe said. “The Red Deer Cave people were sharing the landscape with these early pre-farming communities, but we have no idea yet how they may have interacted or whether they competed for resources.” [10 Things That Make Humans Special]

Although modern-day Asia contains more than half of the world’s population, researchers still know little about humans there after our ancestors settled Eurasia about 70,000 years ago, Curnoe said. No human fossils less than 100,000 years old had been found in mainland East Asia that resembled anything other than anatomically modern humans until now. These new findings are fossil evidence that this region may not have been devoid of our evolutionary cousins.

“The discovery of the Red Deer Cave People opens the next chapter in the latest stage of the human evolutionary story, the Asian chapter,” Curnoe said. “It’s a story that’s just beginning to be told.”