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Chinese fossil finds challenge human evolution story


From Jane Qiu at Nature:

Keen to get to the bottom of its people’s ancestry, China has in the past decade stepped up its efforts to uncover evidence of early humans across the country. It is reanalysing old fossil finds and pouring tens of millions of dollars a year into excavations. And the government is setting up a US$1.1-million laboratory at the IVPP to extract and sequence ancient DNA.

“Many Western scientists tend to see Asian fossils and artefacts through the prism of what was happening in Africa and Europe,” says Wu. Those other continents have historically drawn more attention in studies of human evolution because of the antiquity of fossil finds there, and because they are closer to major palaeoanthropology research institutions, he says. “But it’s increasingly clear that many Asian materials cannot fit into the traditional narrative of human evolution.” More.

Well, if one must choose between historical fact and traditional narrative… that’s usually because we are learning something new. Good place to be.

See also: Human evolution: Current pottery theory in smithereens. Pottery much older than (dated) agriculture (China find)

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