I found the "Fossil Gap" (100kya-30kya) quite interesting, but just searching on 百度百科 I found that there really are a fair few archaeological sites dating to that period... so its not much of a gap after all...
However I noticed a more serious gap:
Seems to be no significant increase in brain volume between Peking Man (1060ml) ~750kya and Dali Man/Changyang Man (1120ml) ~190kya. Is this the same species living in East Asia for half a million years or more? There are no complete skulls or other bones earlier than Peking Man, just a cranium fragment (蓝田人), teeth (元谋人） and a possible mandible (巫山人). These three sites, along with many tool sites are all fairly controversially dated to 1-2mya. My guess would be that the earliest Chinese hominids were very similar to Homo Georgicus (1.8 mya), and then later evolved into a distinct East Asian Homo Erectus species.
Maba Man (广东）, with a 20% larger brain volume (same as modern humans or Neanderthals) dates to ~130kya. To me, this either points to a sudden leap in evolution in China ~160kya, or more likely to an extinction/absorption of the earlier species, with a new species coming from elsewhere. The latter is also supported by some claims that the Maba skull is much more similar to European Neanderthals than it is to the earlier Chinese homo species.
What I propose is that the standard model of modern humans replacing Homo Erectus in China sometime around 60k-100k years ago, should be expanded to include a possible Early Modern Human/Neanderthal migration slightly earlier, of which Maba Man might be the only example... I did read somewhere that human remains from a site in northern Jiangsu (下草湾) dating to 40kya still showed more Neanderthal features than either Modern Chinese or Homo Erectus features, so the truth could be even more bizarre; with Neanderthal and Homo Sapien immigrants co-existing in China for even longer than they did in Europe.
Another piece of evidence I would like to mention is the research published earlier this year which showed that all non-African humans (including Chinese) share 4% of their DNA with Neanderthals. I think this clearly implies that some major Neanderthal migration happened prior to the out of Africa event. Similarly, many East Asian gene mutations can be traced back to the Peking Man era, but cannot be found elsewhere, showing that the Chinese Homo Erectus probably did not migrate westwards?
While it is clearly proven that the vast majority of modern human DNA can be traced back to common ancestors 60k-100k years ago, this analysis of the small contributions from the other extinct homo species can be quite revealing about even earlier migrations. I think the "Chinese Archaeologist" model of smooth gradual transitions from 2mya to modern east asian man is flawed and clearly does not match the fossil evidence (let alone recent genetic studies).
Any ideas or other interpretations? Thanks
Gaps in Chinese Evolution Fossil Record, how to interpret?
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