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《Quaternary Sciences》 2002-01
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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON THE VARIATIONS OF HOMO ERECTUS IN CHINA

Wu\ Xinzhi Shang\ Hong (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology,Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044)  
Until present there are many fossils belonging to Homo erectus found in China. The north limit of the distribution is 39°41′N (ZKD); south limit, 25°45′N (Yuanmou); east, 118°09′E (Yiyuan); west, 101°55′E (Yuanmou). ZKD, Tangshan, Hexian, Chenjiawo, Yiyuan, Nanzhao, Yunxi and Luonan belong to Middle Pleistocene; Yuanmou, Gongwangling, Quyuan River Mouth, Meipu and Jianshi, to Early Pleistocene. Among the important Middle Pleistocene sites Tangshan and Hexian are in the south part of China, ZKD and Chenjiawo in the north. ZKD and Hexian have yielded skulls and mandibles, Tangshan , only skulls, Chenjiawo only a mandible. Skulls of ZKD are different from that of Hexian in having lower cranial index, higher curvature of the frontal bone, more post orbital constriction, less curved superior orbital margin, presence of the supraorbital process, lower pyramids of temporal bone, parietal bone shorter than the frontal bone, coronal contour viewed from behind bun like instead of quadrangular in shape etc. Tangshan skulls are closer to those from ZKD than to that of Hexian in all of these above mentioned features except the height of the pyramid because of the lack of this part of specimen. Skulls of Hexian and Tangshan are similar in not having a wide chignon at the occipital region which presented in ZKD skulls. So all of these could not be the markers dividing the Middle Pleistocene population of China into a northern and a southern one. Tangshan skull No.1 is different from those of ZKD in possessing more developed marginal process of zygomatic bone, absence of severe constriction around the fronto zygomatic suture, presence of narrow ridge along the internasal suture, surface bulge between the pyriforme orifice and the orbit, more protruding nasal saddle and much bigger difference between the breadth of the upper and lower margins of the nasal bone etc. But all of these differences could not be checked in Hexian skull because of the lack of corresponding parts in that specimen. New specimens are needed to investigate more information on the variations of Middle Pleistocene Homo erectus in China. Comparison between mandibles from ZKD, Chenjiawo and Hexian, and between skulls from Gongwangling and Yunxian, and among teeth from different sites have also been made. All the comparisons show obvious population differences but provide no evidence to divide the Pleistocene populations in China into a northern group and a southern one like the situations in neolithic age and present day. The protruding nasal saddle of Yunxian skull No.2 and Tangshan skull No.1, the surface bulge between the pyriforme orifice and the orbit in the latter specimen as well as the presence of the mid sagittal prominence in Tangshan skull No.2 instead of a ridge are extraordinary features in fossil humans of China, but these features could be much more frequently seen in fossil humans of Africa and Europe especially in the Neanderthal lineage. The fortuitous occurence of these features in Homo erectus of China indicates the probably small amounts of gene flow between Oriental and West regions of the world in the Pleistocene. In addition, there are many other morphological features of Homo erectus fossils in China shared with Homo sapiens fossils of China such as quadrangular shape of the orbit, a nearly horizontal curved suture formed with naso frontal and fronto maxillary sutures, more forward facing of the antero lateral surface of fronto sphenoidal process of the zygomatic bone, curved lower margin of the bones of cheek region, the presence of a mid sagittal ridge on the frontal bone, shovel shaped upper incisor etc. The presence of these features in both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens fossil skulls in China supports the continuity in human evolution of China. In sum, this preliminary study on the morphological variation of Homo erectus in China supports the hypothesis continuity with hybridization, advocating that continuity marks the main process of human evolution in China in which g
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金 (批准号 :4 9972 0 1 1 )
【CateGory Index】: Q981
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