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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture >> Archeology

Latest fossils shed lights on evolution and the migration of man

By Wang Ru (China Daily)

09:50, April 18, 2012

An artist's conception of a Red Deer Cave person.

It has been almost a century since the Peking Man was first discovered. But curiosity still surrounds human origins.

The latest fossils unearthed are from Southwest China's Yunnan province. No lack of mystery and wonder surrounds them, as these cavemen had an extraordinary mix of primitive and modern anatomical features.

They could offer the answers to questions about the complexity of the migration and development of humans.

Named the Red Deer Cave People after one of the main sites they came from - Maludong, which literally means "Red Deer Cave" - the partial skulls and other bone fragments are between 14,300 and 11,500 years old.

The fossils were discovered in the 1970s and '80s but left unstudied. They came to light again after a recent rediscovery, which prompted deeper research by a team of scientists from China and Australia.

The team, led by professors Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales and Ji Xueping of the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, includes researchers from five Australian and six Chinese institutions.

What stunned the researchers were the cavemen's features, which are quite distinct from what you might call a fully modern human. "They look very different from all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago," Curnoe says in an interview with the BBC.

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