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Curnoe D.,University of New South Wales | Xueping J.,Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology | Xueping J.,Yunnan University | Herries A.I.R.,La Trobe University | And 14 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Later Pleistocene human evolution in East Asia remains poorly understood owing to a scarcity of well described, reliably classified and accurately dated fossils. Southwest China has been identified from genetic research as a hotspot of human diversity, containing ancient mtDNA and Y-DNA lineages, and has yielded a number of human remains thought to derive from Pleistocene deposits. We have prepared, reconstructed, described and dated a new partial skull from a consolidated sediment block collected in 1979 from the site of Longlin Cave (Guangxi Province). We also undertook new excavations at Maludong (Yunnan Province) to clarify the stratigraphy and dating of a large sample of mostly undescribed human remains from the site. Methodology/Principal Findings: We undertook a detailed comparison of cranial, including a virtual endocast for the Maludong calotte, mandibular and dental remains from these two localities. Both samples probably derive from the same population, exhibiting an unusual mixture of modern human traits, characters probably plesiomorphic for later Homo, and some unusual features. We dated charcoal with AMS radiocarbon dating and speleothem with the Uranium-series technique and the results show both samples to be from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition: ~14.3-11.5 ka. Conclusions/Significance: Our analysis suggests two plausible explanations for the morphology sampled at Longlin Cave and Maludong. First, it may represent a late-surviving archaic population, perhaps paralleling the situation seen in North Africa as indicated by remains from Dar-es-Soltane and Temara, and maybe also in southern China at Zhirendong. Alternatively, East Asia may have been colonised during multiple waves during the Pleistocene, with the Longlin-Maludong morphology possibly reflecting deep population substructure in Africa prior to modern humans dispersing into Eurasia. © 2012 Curnoe et al.

Li S.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | Deng C.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | Dong W.,CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology | Sun L.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | And 5 more authors.
Tectonophysics | Year: 2015

The late Cenozoic extensional basins in Yunnan Province (southwestern China), which are kinematically linked with the regional strike-slip faults, can provide meaningful constraints on the fault activity history and tectonic evolution of the southeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau (SEMTP), and further on the geodynamic evolution of the Tibetan Plateau. However, this has been severely impeded by the lack of precise age constraints on the timing of fault activity. To better constrain the timing of fault activity and the tectonic rotation of SEMTP, we undertook a high-resolution magnetostratigraphic study on the Xiaolongtan Formation in the Xiaolongtan Basin, which is located at the southern tip of the Xianshuihe-Xiaojiang fault and is well-known by the presence of hominoid Lufengpithecus keiyuanensis. Rock magnetic experiments indicate that magnetite is the main remanence carrier. Correlation to the geomagnetic polarity timescale was achieved by combining magnetostratigraphic and biostratigraphic data. Our correlation suggests that the Xiaolongtan Formation sedimentary sequence spans from Chron C5Ar.1r to Chron C5n.2n, which indicates that the age of the Xiaolongtan Formation ranges from ~10Ma to 12.7Ma, and that the ages of the two sedimentary layers possibly bearing the hominoid L. keiyuanensis are ~11.6Ma or ~12.5Ma. The basal age of the sediments is 12.7Ma, which indicates that the activation of the southern Xianshuihe-Xiaojiang fault was initiated at this time. The overall mean paleomagnetic direction (D=353.2°, I=34.2°, α95 =2.1°, n=166) documents a counter-clockwise vertical axis rotation of -8±3° with respect to Eurasia, which is the response to the activity of the left-lateral Xianshuihe-Xiaojiang Fault. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Chang L.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | Chang L.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Guo Z.,CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics | Guo Z.,Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 13 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2015

Evolutionary processes in hominoid primates were closely related to global and/or regional environmental changes, and therefore palaeoenvironmental reconstruction is fundamental for understanding how environmental changes shaped their evolution. Here, we present pollen data from the 16-m-thick Shuitangba (STB) section, Yunnan Province, southwestern China, bearing remains of the hominoid Lufengpithecus lufengensis of the terminal Miocene; and use principal component analysis to reconstruct the palaeovegetation and palaeoclimate during the key period when the hominoid lived. Our results show that before the STB hominoid appeared (Zone A), the vegetation was dominated by subtropical evergreen broad-leaved taxa with a few temperate deciduous taxa (e.g., Quercus, Castanea/. Castanopsis, Alnus). The development of aquatic plants commencing at the ~. 12. m depth is a prominent feature, indicating a warm and humid climate. During the time when the hominoid lived (Zone B), evergreen broad-leaved forests with evergreen Quercus were predominant, while grasses including Poaceae began to expand, and simultaneously conifers decreased, indicating a warm climate. The significant presence of aquatic pollen taxa in subzone A-2 and Zone B suggests the occurrence of lacustrine or swampy environments. In contrast, in Zone C, the vegetation changed to coniferous forest, indicating cooler and drier conditions. These results provide substantive evidence of the vegetation conditions when the hominoid lived, suggesting that the greater diversity of vegetation and the warm humid climate, compared to the present day, would have favoured its survival. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

PubMed | CAS Institute of Geology and Geophysics and Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

Global and regional environmental changes have influenced the evolutionary processes of hominoid primates, particularly during the Miocene. Recently, a new Lufengpithecus cf. lufengensis hominoid fossil with a late Miocene age of ~6.2Ma was discovered in the Shuitangba (STB) section of the Zhaotong Basin in Yunnan on the southeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau. To understand the relationship between paleoclimate and hominoid evolution, we have studied sedimentary, clay mineralogy and geochemical proxies for the late Miocene STB section (~16m thick; ca. 6.7-6.0Ma). Our results show that Lufengpithecus cf. lufengensis lived in a mildly warm and humid climate in a lacustrine or swamp environment. Comparing mid to late Miocene records from hominoid sites in Yunnan, Siwalik in Pakistan, and tropical Africa we find that ecological shifts from forest to grassland in Siwalik are much later than in tropical Africa, consistent with the disappearance of hominoid fossils. However, no significant vegetation changes are found in Yunnan during the late Miocene, which we suggest is the result of uplift of the Tibetan plateau combined with the Asian monsoon geographically and climatically isolating these regions. The resultant warm and humid conditions in southeastern China offered an important refuge for Miocene hominoids.

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