Peopling of Southeast Asia

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See Archaic humans in Southeast Asia for the earlier presence of archaic humans.

Southeast Asia was first reached by anatomically modern humans before 60,000 years ago, possibly before 70,000 years ago.[1] The oldest anatomically modern human fossil from Southeast Asia was found in Callao Cave, near Peñablanca, Cagayan, dated to 67,000 years old in 2010.[2]

Anatomically modern humans reached Southeast Asia in the course of the Southern Dispersal migration before the formation of a separate East Asian clade, at around 40,000 years ago.[3] The pre-Neolithic Australo-Melanesian populations of Southeast Asia were largely replaced by the expansion of Southern Mongoloid populations (the Austronesian expansion), beginning about 5,000 years ago.[4] The division of the Southern Mongoloid lineage of Southeast Asia, and the Northern Mongoloid lineage of East Asia, is made in physiological terms based on dentition, the distinction of "Sundadonty" vs. "Sinodonty".[5] Sundadont dentition is found in the skeletal remains of Jōmon people of Japan, and in living populations of Taiwanese aborigines, Filipinos, Indonesians, Borneans and Malaysians. According to 2016 analysis by C.G Turner II, sundadonty is the proto-Mongolid dental morphology which is not connected to the Australoid dental morphology. He also shows that sinodonty is predominant in Native Americans.[6]

In Asia, most recent late archaic human fossils were found from China (125-100 ka), the Philippines (58-24 ka), Malaysia (c. 40 ka), and Sri Lanka (c.36 ka).[7] The artifacts from these sites include partial skeleton, crania, deep skull, and other related skeletons indicate that modern human migrated to Asia earlier than the western theory might have discussed.[8]

In 2009 archaeologists discovered the partial cranium and some teeth of a modern human at Tam Pa Ling in mainland Laos which shed light on the understanding of anatomically modern human migration and evolution in the region during the Late Pleistocene Period.[8] The site is located in Houaphanh Province, around 170 miles north of Vientiane, the capital city of modern Laos. Within this site, only human remains were found, but there is no evidence of human occupation or other artifacts. The radiocarbon dating of the charcoal and the sediment dating analyses identify the remains to date at least c. 56.5 ka, while the dental artifacts from the remains that analyzed by the isotope-ratio measurement indicate c. 63.6 ka.[8] The analysis of the cranium and dentition of the remains suggest that these remains are the early modern human population in Southeast Asia. This date is older than the fossils that were found in Niah cave in Malaysia which offers another explanation for human evolution in Southeast Asia.

In addition to the discovery in Laos, there are also a number of human remains and related artifacts found across mainland Southeast Asia in which it suggests the new ideas of the regional Late Pleistocene development as well. More teeth and molar that were found in Thailand and Vietnam sites (Tham Wihan Naki, Thailand; Tham Kuyean, Vietnam, and etc.) indicate transitions between H. erectus and H. sapiens.[9] In fact, these remains might indicate the possible interbreeding between H. erectus and H. sapiens, such as the tooth at Wihan Nakin at Chaiyaphum province in Thailand.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rasmussen, M; Guo, X; Wang, Y (2011). "An Aboriginal Australian genome reveals separate human dispersals into Asia". Science. 334 (6052): 94-98. doi:10.1126/science.1211177. PMC 3991479. PMID 21940856. We show that Aboriginal Australians are descendants of an early human dispersal into eastern Asia, possibly 62,000 to 75,000 years ago. This dispersal is separate from the one that gave rise to modern Asians 25,000 to 38,000 years ago.
  2. ^ Severino, Howie (August 2, 2010). "Researchers discover fossil of human older than Tabon Man". GMA News Online. Retrieved 2019-12-22.
  3. ^ Lipson, Mark; Reich, David (2017). "A Working Model of the Deep Relationships of Diverse Modern Human Genetic Lineages Outside of Africa". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 34 (4): 889–902. doi:10.1093/molbev/msw293. PMC 5400393. PMID 28074030. The former [eastern clade] includes present-day East Asians and had differentiated as early as the ∼40 kya Tianyuan individual (Fu et al. 2013), while early members of the latter [western clade] include ancient European hunter-gatherers (Lazaridis et al. 2014; Seguin-Orlando et al. 2014; Fu et al. 2016) and the ancient northern Eurasian Mal'ta 1 (MA1, a ∼24 kya Upper Paleolithic individual from south-central Siberia) (Raghavan et al. 2014). More recent (Neolithic and later) western Eurasians, such as Europeans, are mostly descended from the western clade but with an additional component of "Basal Eurasian" ancestry (via the Near East) splitting more deeply than any other known non-African lineage (Lazaridis et al. 2014, 2016). The timing of the eastern/western split is uncertain, but several papers (Gutenkunst et al. 2009; Laval et al. 2010; Gravel et al. 2011) have used present-day European and East Asian populations to infer dates of initial separation of 40–45 kya (adjusted for a mutation rate of 0.5 × 10−9 per year; Scally 2016).
  4. ^ S. Noerwidi, "Using Dental Metrical Analysis to Determine the Terminal Pleistocene and Holocene Population History of Java", in: Philip J. Piper, Hirofumi Matsumura, David Bulbeck (eds.), New Perspectives in Southeast Asian and Pacific Prehistory (2017), p. 92.
  5. ^ Hamada, Ryuta, Kondo, Shintaro & Wakatsuki, Eizo. (1997). Odontometrical Analysis of Filipino Dentition. The Journal of Showa University Dental Society, 17. Page 197. Retrieved March 8, 2018, from link to the PDF document.
  6. ^ Pilloud, Marin; Heim, Kelly; Schmitz, Kirk; Paul, Kathleen. "Sinodonty, Sundadonty, and the Beringian Standstill model: Issues of timing and migrations into the New World". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Barker, Graeme; Barton, Huw; Bird, Michael; Daly, Patrick; Datan, Ipoi; Dykes, Alan; Farr, Lucy; Gilbertson, David; Harrisson, Barbara (2007-03-01). "The 'human revolution' in lowland tropical Southeast Asia: the antiquity and behavior of anatomically modern humans at Niah Cave (Sarawak, Borneo)". Journal of Human Evolution. 52 (3): 243–261. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2006.08.011. PMID 17161859.
  8. ^ a b c Demeter, Fabrice; Shackelford, Laura L.; Bacon, Anne-Marie; Duringer, Philippe; Westaway, Kira; Sayavongkhamdy, Thongsa; Braga, José; Sichanthongtip, Phonephanh; Khamdalavong, Phimmasaeng (2012-09-04). "Anatomically modern human in Southeast Asia (Laos) by 46 ka". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109 (36): 14375–14380. doi:10.1073/pnas.1208104109. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 3437904. PMID 22908291.
  9. ^ a b Marwick, Ben (2009-06-01). "Biogeography of Middle Pleistocene hominins in mainland Southeast Asia: A review of current evidence". Quaternary International. Great Arc of Human DispersalGreat Arc of Human Dispersal. 202 (1–2): 54–55. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2008.01.012.