Earliest unequivocally modern humans in southern China

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Republication from nature.com


Location of the Daoxian site. Late Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene localities with human remains that have been included in the morphological and/or metric comparison with Daoxian are also marked on the map. 2: Tianyuan Cave;


The hominin record from southern Asia for the early Late Pleistocene epoch is scarce. Well-dated and well-preserved fossils older than ~45,000 years that can be unequivocally attributed to Homo sapiens are lacking1, 2, 3, 4. Here we present evidence from the newly excavated Fuyan Cave in Daoxian (southern China). This site has provided 47 human teeth dated to more than 80,000 years old, and with an inferred maximum age of 120,000 years. The morphological and metric assessment of this sample supports its unequivocal assignment to H. sapiens. The Daoxian sample is more derived than any other anatomically modern humans, resembling middle-to-late Late Pleistocene specimens and even contemporary humans. Our study shows that fully modern morphologies were present in southern China 30,000–70,000 years earlier than in the Levant and Europe5, 6, 7. Our data fill a chronological and geographical gap that is relevant for understanding when H. sapiens first appeared in southern Asia.



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By  Periklis    DeligiannisTang-style lamellar

A  recreation  of  a  Tang  or  a  general  Tang-type  lamellar  cuirass. Note  the  impressive  visor.

In  589  AD  the  Sui  Dynasty  managed  to  unite  the  vast  Chinese  lands  in  an  empire  after  four  centuries  of  division,  barbaric  occupation  of  northern  China  and  bloody  internal  wars  (189-589  AD).  The  Sui  emperors  restored  stability  and  prosperity  in  the  vast  country,  but  the  Emperor  Yang  Ti  launched  three  unsuccessful  campaigns  against  the  powerful  Korean  kingdom  Koguryo  (612-614).  The  maintenance  for  three  years,  of  the  numerous  Chinese  troops  (needed  for  the  difficult  campaigns  against  the  Koguryan  Koreans)  exhausted  financially  the  citizens  of  the  empire.  The  taxation  and  the  recruitment  had  increased  excessively  by  Yang  Ti,  in  order  to  maintain  his  numerous  military  forces  in  the  Korean  border.  Finally  the  Chinese  people  rebelled,  supported  by  the  equally  discontented  nobles.  By 617  the  Sui  Empire  collapsed.  Various  contenders  for  imperial  power,  Chinese  and  barbarian  mercenary  warlords,  and  some  people’s  revolutionary  movements,  ravaged  the  territories  of  the  shattered  empire.  The  power  of  the  Sui  was  essentially  limited  to  the  capital  Chang  An.


A  map  of  the  Tang  Empire,  after  its  consolidation .  Kogyryo  had  already  been  replaced  by  the  Po-Hai  kingdom.

One  of   the  independent  Chinese  warlords  was  Li  Yuan  Tang  of  the  Tang  family (local  dynasty),  ruler  of  the  upper  valley  of  the  river  Wei  in  northwest  China.  The  valley  was  a  natural  fortress,  protected  by  high  mountains,  and  the  only  “inputs”  in  it  were  a  few  mountainous  passes.  The  Chinese  tradition  informs  us  that  20,000  soldiers  could  defend  the  upper  valley  against  an  army  of  1,000,000  enemies.  This  report  probably  sounds  excessive,  but  in  reality  it  was  not  incorrect.  Continue reading

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