WUHAN, April 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese archaeologists
said newly found evidence proves that a valley of Qingjiang River, a tributary
on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, might be one of the regions where
Homo sapiens, or modern man, originated.
The finding challenges the
"Out-of-Africa" hypothesis of modern human origins, according to which about
100,000 years ago modern humans originated in Africa, migrated to other
continents, and replaced populations of archaic humans across the globe.
The finding comes from a large-scale excavation
launched in the Qingjiang River Valley in 1980s when construction began on a
rangeof hydropower stations on the Qingjiang River, a fellow researcher with the
Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology.
Archaeologists discovered three human tooth fossils
in one mountain cave in Mazhaping Village, in the Gaoping Township of Jianshi
County, western Hubei Province, and found pieces of lithictechnology and
evidence of fire usage in Minor Cave in Banxia. There were similar findings in
Nianyu Mountain and in Zhadong Cavein Banxia, all in Changyang Prefecture of the
Qiangjiang River Valley.
A special research panel named the Jianshi Man
research team has been set up to analyze the findings.
Zheng Shaohua, a member of the Jianshi man research
team from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences, confirmed the tooth fossils belonged to humans
dating back between 2.15 and 1.95 million yearsago.
The archaeologists also found fossils of bone
implements in thecultural strata at the ruins where the human tooth fossils were
The fossilized bone implements bear traces of human
beating, testifying that humans, not apes, lived inside the mountain cave, said
Qiu Zhanxiang, another member on the Jianshi Man research team.
The pieces of lithic technology and traces of human
fire usage found in Minor Cave in Banxia were said to date back 130,000
years,the ruins of human fire usage in Nianyu Mountain were dated as 120,000
years or 90,000 years old, while pieces of lithic technology and traces of fire
usage found in Zhadong Cave in Banxia, were dated as 27,000 years old, said
Before these latest archaeological findings, Chinese
archaeologists had found fossils of what is now known as ChangyangMan in 1957
under the leadership of renowned Chinese paleoanthropologist Jia Lanpo.
Changyang Man represents early Homosapiens dating back 200,000 years.
The latest archaeological findings together with the
earlier discovery of Changyang Man all prove there was continuity in Homo
sapiens' development in China, said Liu Qingzhu, head of the Archaeology
Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"They are also of great significance to research on
Paleolithic era in China and East Asia, and theories regarding multiple origins
of mankind," said Liu. Enditem