Early presence of Homo sapiens in Southeast Asia by 86–68 kyr at Tam Pà Ling, Northern Laos


Sarah E. Freidline, University of Central Florida
Kira E. Westaway, Macquarie University
Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Southern Cross University
Philippe Duringer, EOST - École et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre
Jean Luc Ponche, Laboratoire Image, Ville, Environnement - LIVE
Mike W. Morley, Flinders University
Vito C. Hernandez, Flinders University
Meghan S. McAllister-Hayward, Flinders University
Hugh McColl, Københavns Universitet
Clément Zanolli, Université de Bordeaux
Philipp Gunz, Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie
Inga Bergmann, Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie
Phonephanh Sichanthongtip, Ministry of Information and Culture
Daovee Sihanam, Ministry of Information and Culture
Souliphane Boualaphane, Ministry of Information and Culture
Thonglith Luangkhoth, Ministry of Information and Culture
Viengkeo Souksavatdy, Ministry of Information and Culture
Anthony Dosseto, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
Quentin Boesch, EOST - École et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre
Elise Patole-Edoumba, Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de la Rochelle
Françoise Aubaile, Éco-anthropologie
Françoise Crozier, Diversité, Adaptation et Développement des Plantes
Eric Suzzoni, Technical Cave Supervision and Exploration
Sébastien Frangeul, Technical Cave Supervision and Exploration
Nicolas Bourgon, Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie
Alexandra Zachwieja, University of Minnesota Medical School
Tyler E. Dunn, Oregon Health & Science University
Anne Marie Bacon, Université Paris Cité
Jean Jacques Hublin, Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie

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Nature Communications


The timing of the first arrival of Homo sapiens in East Asia from Africa and the degree to which they interbred with or replaced local archaic populations is controversial. Previous discoveries from Tam Pà Ling cave (Laos) identified H. sapiens in Southeast Asia by at least 46 kyr. We report on a recently discovered frontal bone (TPL 6) and tibial fragment (TPL 7) found in the deepest layers of TPL. Bayesian modeling of luminescence dating of sediments and U-series and combined U-series-ESR dating of mammalian teeth reveals a depositional sequence spanning ~86 kyr. TPL 6 confirms the presence of H. sapiens by 70 ± 3 kyr, and TPL 7 extends this range to 77 ± 9 kyr, supporting an early dispersal of H. sapiens into Southeast Asia. Geometric morphometric analyses of TPL 6 suggest descent from a gracile immigrant population rather than evolution from or admixture with local archaic populations.

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