So this is the skull that’s causing all the fuss, the Liujiang skull. it was found in Tongtianyan in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (South Easternmost China) in 1958 by people collecting fertilizer.
There’s a bit of uncertainty over its age; a uranium series gave a date of 67,000 years +/-5,000; but the flora and fauna in the cave seem to indicate an older date. There are also some modern human teeth found in the same area with a very old date of 94,000 BP. So really the only date you could give it is ‘inconveniently old for the recently out of Africa theory’.
The skulls don’t really bear more than a passing resemblance to modern mongoloid Asians, there being some significant differences in the teeth at least. The eye orbits are more rectangular as well. This also agrees with other data showing that modern mongoloids area a rather recent arrival in Asia, who have become massively successful in a very short space of time- the oldest Mongoloid shaped skull in Asia being about 7,000 years old.
21 July 2002; accepted 9 September 2002.
It has been established that modern humans were living in the Levant and Africa ca. 100 ka ago. Hitherto, this has contrasted with the situation in China where no unequivocal specimens of this species have been securely dated to more than 30 ka. Here we present the results of stratigraphic studies and U-series dating of the Tongtianyan Cave, the discovery site of the Liujiang hominid, which represents one of the few well-preserved fossils of modern Homo sapiens in China. The human fossils are inferred to come from either a refilling breccia or a primarily deposited gravel-bearing sandy clay layer. In the former case, which is better supported, the fossils would date to at least 68 ka, but more likely to 111–139 ka. Alternatively, they would be older than 153 ka. Both scenarios would make the Liujiang hominid one of the earliest modern humans in East Asia, possibly contemporaneous with the earliest known representatives from the Levant and Africa. Parallel studies on other Chinese localities have provided supporting evidence for the redating of Liujiang, which may have important implications for the origin of modern humans.