The fossilized remains of previously unknown species of the Stone Age found in two caves in south-western China open up completely new information in the evolution of man and the paleolithic history of Asia, which scientists know very little.
What is remarkable is that these people were connected in an unusual way as archaic and modern anatomical characteristics. Also surprised by the relatively young age of the fossils (14500-11500 years), that is the final stage of the Paleolithic period, when the territories of China gradually began to emerge farming culture, as reported by an international team of scientists led by Professor Darren Carnot (Darren Curnoe) from the University of New South Wales and Professor Ji Hyuping (Ji Xueping) of the Institute of Cultural antiquities and archeology in Yunnan.
Details findings were published in the journal PLoS One.
The research team has been extremely cautious in the classification of minerals due to the unusual characteristics of the mosaic of ancient people. "These fossils could belong to an unknown type of people that have inhabited our planet until the end of the Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago" - said Professor Carnot. "In addition, they may be from a previously unknown genetically isolated group that migrated out of Africa, together with the people of the modern type."
The remains of at least three individuals were found by Chinese archaeologists in a cave or cavern Maludun Stag, near the city of Mengzi in Yunnan Province in 1989. They remained unexplored before the 2008 survey was organized with the participation of scientists from six Chinese and five Australian institutions.
Chinese geologist discovered a fourth partially preserved skeleton in 1979 in a cave near the village of Lunlin, located next door to the province of Yunnan, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Fossil remained in the rock until 2009, and then they came out and repaired an international team of researchers.
Skull and teeth of Maluduna and Lunlina very similar to each other and possess features very unusual mixture of obsolete and modern anatomical characteristics, as well as some other previously unknown features.
Despite the fact that today inhabit Asia, more than half of humanity, scientists still do not fully figured out how to anthropogeny occurred in the area, after the settlement of her ancestors of modern humans about 70,000 years ago, as noted by Professor Carnot.
Scientists have called the people a new kind of "people of the red deer," because they hunted extinct red deer and cooked them in the cave Maludun.
The Asian continent is enormous, but the scientists very little is known about him: attention of paleontologists, archaeologists and geneticists involved in the study of human origins, is more focused on Europe and Africa in mind the lack of resources in Asia and poor quality dating.
Before the discovery of fossils in Yunnan in East Asia has not been found any reliably dated human bone, which would have been younger than 100,000 years, and morphologically different from Homo sapiens, the modern human type. This indicates that the region is empty until it first modern people. However, the new discovery completely changes the picture.
"In view of the geographical features of the Tibeto-Tszinzanskogo plateau south-western part of China has always been considered a place of meetings, interaction, and even a partial mixing of different cultural traditions and populations. Now clear that the history of co-existence of different cultures is rooted much deeper in the past, namely, at the time Paleolithic "- said Professor Ji.
During the last decade, the results of the study was the discovery of Asia 17,000 years is very mysterious, "Indonesian Hobbit" (Homo floresiensis), as well as evidence of intraspecific crosses of contemporary man with ancient Denisovantsami from Siberia.
"With the opening of deer people begins the next chapter in the story of human evolution - Asian chapter - and this is a very long chapter," - said in the conclusion of Professor Carnot.