Close relative of Neanderthals unearthed in China

Late Pleistocene archaic human crania from Xuchang, China
Zhan-Yang Li, Xiu-Jie Wu, Li-Ping Zhou, Wu Liu, Xing Gao, Xiao-Mei Nian, and Erik Trinkaus
Science 355 (6328): 969-972.
DOI:
10.1126/science.aal2482.

Abstract
Two early Late Pleistocene (~105,000- to 125,000-year-old) crania from Lingjing, Xuchang,China, exhibit a morphological mosaic with differences from and similarities to their western contemporaries. They share pan–Old World trends in encephalization and insupraorbital, neurocranial vault, and nuchal gracilization. They reflect eastern Eurasian ancestry in having low, sagittally flat, and inferiorly broad neurocrania. They share occipital (suprainiac and nuchal torus) and temporal labyrinthine (semicircular canal) morphology with the Neandertals. This morphological combination reflects Pleistocene human evolutionary patterns in general biology, as well as both regional continuity and interregional population dynamics.

Featured image © Natural History Museum.

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