A Hominin Femur with Archaic Affinities from the Late Pleistocene of Southwest China
Darren Curnoe , Xueping Ji , Wu Liu, Zhende Bao, Paul S. C. Taçon, Liang Ren
Published: December 17, 2015
Femur MLDG 1678: (A) Anterior view. (B) CT-scan slices at subtrochanteric, approximate half-way and mid-shaft levels. (C)
The number of Late Pleistocene hominin species and the timing of their extinction are issues receiving renewed attention following genomic evidence for interbreeding between the ancestors of some living humans and archaic taxa. Yet, major gaps in the fossil record and uncertainties surrounding the age of key fossils have meant that these questions remain poorly understood. Here we describe and compare a highly unusual femur from Late Pleistocene sediments at Maludong (Yunnan), Southwest China, recovered along with cranial remains that exhibit a mixture of anatomically modern human and archaic traits. Our studies show that the Maludong femur has affinities to archaic hominins, especially Lower Pleistocene femora. However, the scarcity of later Middle and Late Pleistocene archaic remains in East Asia makes an assessment of systematically relevant character states difficult, warranting caution in assigning the specimen to a species at this time. The Maludong fossil probably samples an archaic population that survived until around 14,000 years ago in the biogeographically complex region of Southwest China.
Citation: Curnoe D, Ji X, Liu W, Bao Z, Taçon PSC, Ren L (2015) A Hominin Femur with Archaic Affinities from the Late Pleistocene of Southwest China. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0143332. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143332
Editor: David Caramelli, University of Florence, ITALY
Received: June 3, 2015; Accepted: November 3, 2015; Published: December 17, 2015
Copyright: © 2015 Curnoe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Data Availability: All relevant data are available in the paper and its Supporting Information files.
Funding: The authors wish to thank the Australian Research Council (grants DP0877603 & FT120100168), the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology (Key Project Grant A-201301), and the University of New South Wales and Griffith University for funding this research.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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