The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)


Gaps in Chinese Paleoanthropology: A View from Guangxi

CHRISTOPHER J. BAE1, WEI WANG2, DAWEI LI2, SHARA BAILEY3, ELISSA LUDEMAN3, JUN CHEN2, ROBERT A. BENITEZ1 and ESTEVAN GUTIERREZ1.

1Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2Department of Archaeology, Guangxi Museum of Nationalities, 3Department of Anthropology, New York University

March 27, 2015 11:00, Grand Ballroom D Add to calendar

The paleoanthropological records of many regions within China are still poorly known. Here, we report the findings of recent multidisciplinary field and laboratory research conducted on sites and materials in and around Daxin city in Guangxi, southern China. Daxin falls under Chongzhuo city jurisdiction, an area that has recently come to international attention because of the discovery of an early Late Pleistocene partial hominin mandible from Zhirendong that has been tentatively assigned to early Homo sapiens. Our own research in the Daxin area includes excavations at the Sanxieshan Locality 2 cave site which resulted in the discovery of two hominoid permanent teeth [one left lower molar (SX15) and one right upper molar (SX09)] that were found just below overlying travertine dated to ~300 ka by uranium series. We have yet to definitively assign the molars to tooth position and/or taxon, but preliminary elliptic fourier analysis suggests one tooth falls more closely to Pongo and the other to Middle Pleistocene Homo. Linear metric analysis of the two teeth suggests a substantial amount of overlap between various Middle Pleistocene hominins and Pongo. Additional analyses will reveal whether these assignments hold up. A second cave surveyed in Daxin is Baoxindong. A wide diversity of vertebrate faunas were surface surveyed in the cave. Given the degree of fossilization of the fossils, we hypothesize that they are probably younger than Sanxieshan and probably date to the Late Pleistocene. The implications of these findings from Daxin are discussed in their broader paleoanthropological context.

Grant Sponsor: 2014 University of Hawai’i at Manoa College of Social Sciences Research Award.