Callao Man

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Callao Man
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene,
Scientific classification (disputed)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Tribe: Hominini
Genus: Homo
Species: Undetermined

Callao man refers to fossilized remains discovered in Callao Cave, Peñablanca, Cagayan (The Philippines) in 2007 by Armand Salvador Mijares. Specifically, the find consisted of a single 61-millimeter metatarsal which, when dated using uranium series ablation, was found to be at least about 67,000 years old. If definitively proven to be remains of Homo sapiens, it would antedate the 47,000-year-old remains of Tabon Man to become the earliest human remains known in the Philippines, and one of the oldest human remains in the Asia Pacific. It has been noted by researchers that Callao Man was probably under four feet tall. Researchers also believe that Aetas, mountain dwellers today in Luzon, could be descendents of Callao Man.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

As of July 2010, the Biological classification of Callao Man is uncertain. The metatarsal bone discovered (Right MT3 — the small bone from the end of the middle toe of the right foot) has been identified as coming from a species of genus Homo, but the exact species classification is uncertain. It has been speculated that Callao Man may be Homo sapiens, or may be Homo floresiensis, though the latter is sometimes considered a pathological specimen of the former.[8] To be able to tell if the bone is human, the team would need to find a skull or mandible.[9] The team that discovered the bone has been campaigning for a permit to continue searching for more bones in the area.[10]


Although the initial theory of human migration to the Philippines proposed the use of land bridges during the last ice age, modern bathymetric readings of the Mindoro Strait and Sibutu Passage suggest that neither would have been fully closed. Therefore, the theory at present is that Callao Man and his contemporaries in Luzon arrived from Sundaland by raft.[11] The timing of Callao Man is very roughly contemporaneous with that during which other Sundalanders are known to have travelled across the more extensive Wallace Line to begin the settlement of New Guinea and Australia.

Butchered animal remains were also found in the same layer of sediment, which indicates that the Callao Man had a degree of knowledge in the use of tools, although no stone tools were found. The bones of the animals were from deer (Cervus mariannus), pigs, and the bovid, an extinct type of cattle.[12] This led to speculations about the use of organic tools such as bamboo, which is abundant in the region up to this day.


  1. ^ Miriam N. Haidle and Alfred F. Pawlik: Pleistocene Modernity: An Exclusively Afro-European Issue? An Introduction to Session A1 in 'Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association' vol. 30 (2010).
  2. ^ Alfred Pawlik: Have We Overlooked Something? Hafting Traces and Indications of Modern Traits in the Philippine Palaeolithic in 'Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association' vol. 30 (2010).
  3. ^ Valmero, Anna (August 5, 2010). "Callao man could be ‘oldest’ human in Asia Pacific, says Filipino archaeologist". loqal Science & Education. 
  4. ^ Severino, Howie G. (August 1, 2010). Researchers discover fossil of human older than Tabon Man. GMA News. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Morella, Cecil. (August 3, 2010). 'Callao Man' Could Redraw Filipino History. Agence France-Presse. Retrieved October 21, 2010 from Discovery News.
  6. ^ "Archaeologists unearth 67,000-year-old human bone in Philippines". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ Cite news|url= |title=Callao Man is Philippines' earliest known inhabitant |author= |publisher=AllVoices |date=August 2, 2010.
  8. ^ Michael Tan (July 2, 2010). "Callao Man". Philippine Daily Inquirer. .
  9. ^ Anna Valmero (August 5, 2010). "Callao man could be ‘oldest’ human in Asia Pacific, says Filipino archaeologist". loqal Science & Education. 
  10. ^ Cecil Morella (August 3, 2010). "'Callao Man' could redraw Filipino History". Discovery News. 
  11. ^ "Callao Man" in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  12. ^ Anna Valmero (August 5, 2010). "Callao man could be ‘oldest’ human in Asia Pacific, says Filipino archaeologist". loqal Science & Education.