New Late Pleistocene age for the Homo sapiens skeleton from Liujiang southern China

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Ge, Junyi; Xing, Song; Grün, Rainer; Deng, Chenglong; Jiang, Yuanjin; Jiang, Tingyun; Yang, Shixia; Zhao, Keliang; Gao, Xing; Yang, Huili; Guo, Zhengtang; Petraglia, Michael D.; Shao, Qingfeng
Year of Publication: 2024
Journal: Nature Communications
Volume: 15
Issue: 1
Pagination: 3611
Date Published: 2024/04/29
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 2041-1723

The emergence of Homo sapiens in Eastern Asia is a topic of significant research interest. However, well-preserved human fossils in secure, dateable contexts in this region are extremely rare, and often the subject of intense debate owing to stratigraphic and geochronological problems. Tongtianyan cave, in Liujiang District of Liuzhou City, southern China is one of the most important fossils finds of H. sapiens, though its age has been debated, with chronometric dates ranging from the late Middle Pleistocene to the early Late Pleistocene. Here we provide new age estimates and revised provenience information for the Liujiang human fossils, which represent one of the most complete fossil skeletons of H. sapiens in China. U-series dating on the human fossils and radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating on the fossil-bearing sediments provided ages ranging from ~33,000 to 23,000 years ago (ka). The revised age estimates correspond with the dates of other human fossils in northern China, at Tianyuan Cave (~40.8–38.1 ka) and Zhoukoudian Upper Cave (39.0–36.3 ka), indicating the geographically widespread presence of H. sapiens across Eastern Asia in the Late Pleistocene, which is significant for better understanding human dispersals and adaptations in the region.

Short Title: Nature Communications