The face is inlaid and more like modern people. The appearance of the people in Hualong Cave was restored 300,000 years ago.
What are the characteristics of the faces of the Hualong cave people 300,000 years ago? What do they look like?
On October 10, the reporter learned from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that the researchers of the Institute conducted a study on the ancient human facial bone fossils unearthed at the Hualongdong site in Dongzhi County, Anhui Province, and found that this was a life of 300,000 years. The faces of ancient humans in the Hualong Cave of the former show mosaic morphological features, which look more like modern humans, and most of their facial features are located in the range of early modern humans and modern humans. This study shows that the transition of human evolution from ancient to modern in East Asia occurred 300,000 years ago, 80,000 to 100,000 years earlier than the previous understanding. At the same time, the researchers also restored the face of the human skull in Hualong Cave, showing the appearance of ancient humans in Hualong Cave 300,000 years ago. Related research results were published online in the international academic journal “Journal of Human Evolution”.
The Hualong cave people 300,000 years ago present modern facial features
Since 2013, the research team has conducted continuous investigations and excavations at the Hualong Cave site in Dongzhi County, Anhui Province, and discovered more than 30 ancient human fossils, hundreds of stone tools, a large number of artificially traced bone fragments, and more than 60 mammals. fossil.
Through uranium dating, fauna composition analysis and stratigraphic comparison, the researchers determined that these ancient human fossils were between 331,000 and 275,000 years ago. “This is the mid-Pleistocene human fossil site with the richest number of human fossils found in China after Zhoukoudian, and contains evidence of human activities such as stone tools.” The co-corresponding author of the paper and a researcher at the Institute of Paleospine of the Chinese Academy of Sciences emphasized Liu Wu. Among the human fossils found in Hualong Cave, there is a complete skull numbered Hualong Cave No. 6, which contains complete facial bones. This is the only Middle Pleistocene discovered in my country that has a complete face and mandible at the same time. Late human fossils. The researchers used traditional morphological description, high-definition CT, multivariate statistics and other methods to observe and measure the facial bones of Hualong Cave No. 6 in detail, and compared them with the specimens of Pleistocene ancient and modern humans found in the world. A series of new discoveries and understandings have been made.
Studies have shown that Hualongdong No. 6 skull has some facial features of mid-Pleistocene Homo erectus in East Asia, including supraorbital occiput, supraorbital tubercle, maxillary groove in the lower orbit, zygomatic tubercle, maxillary zygomatic process, and lack of canine fossa. Nevertheless, the performance of these characteristics is significantly weaker than that of Homo erectus such as Zhoukoudian. “Some of the facial features commonly found in Homo erectus and ancient humans in the mid-Pleistocene, such as broad nasal bones, low upper face, obvious protruding jaws, canine yokes, and zygomatic notches, are weak or even missing in Hualong Cave 6. According to Wu Xiujie, the first author of the paper and a researcher at the Institute of Paleospine, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in contrast, most of the facial features of Hualongdong No. 6 are located in the range of early modern humans and modern humans.
At the same time, the multivariate statistical analysis results compared with the measurement data of the skull and face of ancient Pleistocene humans and modern humans around the world also show that Hualongdong No. 6 has the closest relationship with early modern humans and modern humans in the late Pleistocene.
There are still questions about when modern people will appear
Since Hualongdong No. 6 preserves relatively complete facial bones, it can provide accurate facial morphology and anatomy information. The research team used manual methods and CT scanning methods to restore the physical and virtual skulls of Hualong Cave No. 6 respectively. Using this research, the facial shape and measurement feature data of Hualong Cave No. 6 skull were obtained, and the face of Hualong Cave No. 6 skull was reconstructed by sculpture method. The recovered image of the head and face of Hualong Cave No. 6 clearly and intuitively shows the facial features of the ancient humans who lived in Hualong Cave 300,000 years ago, showing that this is a young individual with a face similar to modern people.
Studies have shown that the number of modern human characteristics and the degree of expression of the Hualong Cave No. 6 skull exceed all known human fossils of the late Middle Pleistocene in China. “This discovery suggests that the transition from ancient human forms to modern forms in East Asia is earlier than previously thought. It may have occurred 300,000 years ago, 80,000 to 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.” Wu Xiujie said.
Liu Wu pointed out that based on the chronological data of the Hualong Cave No. 6 skull 300,000 years ago, the large number of modern human features presented on the skull, and the appearance of modern humans revealed by facial restoration, this skull represents the earliest modern human face in East Asia. Bone shape and appearance. The skull of Hualong Cave No. 6 presents the characteristics of modern people, suggesting that the people who lived in Hualong Cave 300,000 years ago represent the earliest quasi-modern people in East Asia.
However, doubts still exist. The recent discovery and research of ancient human fossils in Africa has advanced the appearance of modern humans to 315,000 years ago. However, genetic studies have shown that the separation of the ancient human and modern human lineages occurred between 550,000 and 765,000 years ago, indicating that there may be members of the modern human lineage that lived earlier, much earlier than the current fossil evidence of humans. .
“In the future, more ancient human fossil discoveries and studies will further reveal the emergence of modern humans in East Asia and clarify disputes related to the origin of modern humans.” Liu Wu said.