African ‘cradle of humanity’ not the only one: Chinese scientists

Anthropologists once again questioned the traditional hypothesis about the origin of man. It seems that experts still have to reconsider the opinion that the first sapiens left Africa.

The classical theory of the African origin of man is bursting at the seams for a long time already: it is denied by the finds made in the Mediterranean (by the way, several have accumulated already ), and also in China . And the first reasonable person appeared not 200, but 300 thousand years ago, judging by the latest works of anthropologists.

The latest theory is confirmed by a discovery made in the Chinese province of Shanxi back in 1978. The study of the skull, surprisingly reminiscent of the human, was completed only now, and the researchers presented new data in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with colleagues from the University of Texas A & M, said that the age of the “skull of Dali” (according to the name of the district where it was found) is about 260 thousand years.

When the experts first described the find, they decided that the remains were most likely belonged to the closest relative and the immediate ancestor of the sapiens, a straight-faced person. It is assumed that these hominins appeared in East Asia 1.8 million years ago, and disappeared from the region about 140 thousand years ago. So in the time interval version fit.

However, in 1981, anthropologist Xinzhi Wu noted that the “skull of Dali” had more similarities with Homo sapiens than with Homo erectus . Precision scanning and reconstruction of the 3D model at that time was, of course, impossible, but the facial bones and even the remains of the brain were preserved so well that it was enough to study them to draw such a conclusion.

new analysis of the international team officially confirms this version. The authors considered the finds in the framework of a system known as SIMCA ( Soft independent modulating by class analogy ) – this is the modeling of class analogues.

According to experts, if you compare the skull from China with the famous remains of sapiens, the most common features he had with the skull found in the Moroccan cave Jebel-Irud in the 1960s.

“Face” “skull of Dali” is surprisingly similar to the “face” of the Moroccan skull, but the brain of the owner of the first remains was more primitive, the researchers say.
“This is surprising, because we assumed that we would find similarities only with other Chinese samples, but not with African ones, but this skull is very similar to several other skulls from North Africa and the Levant, and all of them were previously classified as the remains of H. sapiens”, – says the co-author of the work, Professor Sheela Athreya ( Sheela Athreya ).

In connection with these data anthropologists are to put forth new theories about the origin of the first reasonable people. So far, one of the versions is that several groups of representatives of our species have appeared in different parts of Eurasia and Africa. They developed in isolation, and some, as shown earlier work, were interbreeding with other hominins.

Another option is that the remains found in China (“Daly’s skull,” and many others ) belong to a certain transition link between H. erectus and H. sapiens . This unknown species could theoretically migrate to Africa in the same ways that later sapiens will come to Asia. Then in Africa there was probably an inter-species confusion, as a result of which eventually a reasonable person appeared. This version, by the way, would explain the diversity of our DNA.

The second hypothesis so far seems more plausible. Some scientists already designate this most possible transition link as a “Pleistocene population”, although it does not yet have a taxonomic definition. In any case, anthropologists have another reason for thinking on this topic.