We have now published a study of the endocranial morphology of Maba, a Chinese fossil specimen dated approximately to the end of the Middle Pleistocene. The available portions of the upper face strongly resemble European Neandertals, like Saccopastore 1, found in Italy and supposed to have the same chronology of Maba, or Krapina 3, from Croatia. Also the spatial arrangement and the structural organization between face and braincase in Maba is reminescent of Neandertals. However, the frontal and parietal bones suggest an archaic endocranial morphology, more comparable with Homo heidelbergensis. So we have here an archaic brain form assembled onto a derived facial block. A similar situation (Neandertal traits in the face and archaic features in the vault) was also described for the sample from Sima de los Huesos (Atapuerca, Spain). If such affinity is a matter of phylogeny, the range of the paleospecies H. heidelbergensis – H. neanderthalensis should be revised, and extended to China. Otherwise, the facial Neandertal traits in this Chinese populations can be but a consequence of parallelism and analogy, and the specimen can therefore represent an archaic Asian taxon. Curiously, at the same time in Africa we have the opposite combination: Jebel Irhoud, a modern face with a Neandertal braincase! Definitely puzzling …
Posts Tagged 'China'
Tags: Atapuerca, China, frontal bone, Homo heildelbergensis, Krapina, parietal bone, Saccopastore
Tags: China, Holocene, Malu Cave, modern humans
The pattern of modern human settlement in East Asia is still largely debated, mostly because of the scarce fossil record. Now we have two more specimens from southwest China, at the transition between Pleistocene and Holocene: Longlin and Maludong. Darren Curnoe and colleagues provide a general morphological analysis of the fossil remains. They reconstruct the endocast of Maludong 1704, giving information on the fronto-parietal proportions. The estimated cranial capacity is 1327 cc.