‘Human-like’ fossils a mystery

Posted on March 14, 2012


FOSSILS of a human-like species that may be from a new Stone Age culture in China have left scientists puzzled.

Sometimes called the “red deer people,” the remains are about 11,500 to 14,500 years old and appear to show a mix of modern and archaic peoples, said an Australian and Chinese team of researchers in the journal PLoS One.

The remains, including skulls and teeth, of at least three individuals were found in 1989 at Maludong, or Red Deer Cave, in Yunnan Province, but the fossils went unstudied until 2008.

A fourth partial skeleton was found in 1979 in a cave in the village of Longlin, in the neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, but it remained encased in rock until it was eventually extracted in 2009.

“These new fossils might be of a previously unknown species, one that survived until the very end of the Ice Age around 11,000 years ago,” said lead author Darren Curnoe, a professor at the University of New South Wales.

Courier Mail

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