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《Acta Anthropologica Sinica》 2014-03
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Archaeological Evidence for Evolutionary Continuity of Pleistocene Humans in China and East Asia and Related Discussions

GAO Xing;Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences;  
This paper makes the argument for continuity of human evolution in China and East Asia based on Paleolithic archaeological evidence. Through observation and examination of raw material procurement strategies, stone tool manufacturing technology, lithic typology, artifact morphology, assemblage composition, and trends of regional cultural traditions, it proposed that the development of Paleolithic industries in the region occurred in one continuous line indicating that Pleistocene hominids survived and evolved continuously in the region. Through the study of the emergence of some so-called "western cultural elements" such as Levalloisian technological products, Acheulean-like assemblages, and blade tools in the Chinese Paleolithic, it is pointed out that lithic technology in the region maintained more-or-less within the Oldowan(Mode I) tradition. While some techniques typical of the west made occasional appearance in the east, they had never become the mainstream in stone tool production, not to say to replace the local way of tool fabrication, implying that gene admixture and cultural diffusion between the east and west might have occurred, but population replacement never. Stratigraphic and chronometric analyses on some key Paleolithic sites in the early and middle Upper Pleistocene, including Beiyao, Dadiwan, Xujiacheng, Wulanmulun, Zhijidong, Jingshuiwan, Huanglongdong, etc., showed that there was no evolutionary gap or interruption for East Asian humans during 100 kaBP to 40 kaBP as suggested by some Out-of-Africa advocates. At least some parts of the area was occupied by indigenous human groups. Paleoenvironmental and paleontological research also refutes the notion that the harsh climate of LGM caused the extinction of local populations. Such archaeological evidence provided strong support for the standpoint of evolutionary continuity of Pleistocene humans in China and East Asia and the Continuity with Hybridization theory. The proposition of Comprehensive Behavioral Model strengthens the argument in favor of aboriginal populations' capability of survival and evolution to modern humans. Observations and analyses on the unique behavioral patterns and social attributes of human beings also provide useful inspirations on academic issues such as the nature of geographic isolations for different human groups and the possibility of maintenance of a single biological species of human groups living in different regions through time.
【Fund】: 中国科学院战略性先导科技专项(XDA05130202);; 中国科学院重点部署项目(KZZD-EW-15)
【CateGory Index】: K871.11
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