The earliest remains of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Laos, indicating that humans entered Southeast Asia much earlier than previously thought. This was reported by the press service of Macuori University in Australia.
Tam Pa Ling Cave in northern Laos has been studied by an international team of anthropologists, who found the first evidence that Homo sapiens penetrated Southeast Asia at least 77-86 thousand years ago. This discovery was pivotal in the history of the Tam Pa Ling Cave study, as we can now say with certainty when humans first entered this region of Southeast Asia, how long the first Homo sapiens lived in this cave, and along what routes they migrated in this region.
Before that, scientists assumed that the first sapiens penetrated the territory of China and other countries of East and Southeast Asia about 70-60 thousand years ago. However, new findings in the Tam Pa-Lin cave indicate that humans may have entered the territory of East and Southeast Asia even earlier, about 77-86 thousand years ago.
Tam-Pa-Lin Cave began to attract the attention of anthropologists in 2009, when they were discovered the remains of three presumably ancient Asian Homo sapiens, whose age ranged from 46 to 70 thousand years. These findings prompted a large-scale excavation of the Tam Pa Ling cave.
As a result of excavations, scientists were able to find in the deepest layers of sediment at the bottom of the cave two previously unknown fragments of ancient bones, including part of the tibia and forehead. Fragment of the tibia was buried in the soil from 77 to 86 thousand years ago, and the age of the fragment of the skull bone was 70 to 73 thousand years. Scientists did not find elements of anatomy of other representatives of the genus Homo in these remains, which suggests that they unambiguously belong to Homo sapiens.
The discovery of these remains suggests that people have lived in or around Tam-Pa-Lin Cave for about 56,000 years. The cave may have served as one of the key migration routes for a large number of groups of ancient people who dispersed over Southeast Asia and Australia 90-60 thousand years ago.
Thus, the discovery of the oldest remains of Homo sapiens in the Tam Pa Ling cave in northern Laos is a significant event in the history of the study of this region of Southeast Asia. It allows us to determine more accurately the migration routes of ancient people and their impact on the evolution of the ancestors of modern inhabitants of China and other East Asian countries.