SESSION 5

Human Evolution in the Indo-Pacific Region: Species, Technologies, Chronology, and Environment

1Independent Scholar

2Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy

Recent discoveries of a new hominin species (Denisovan and Palaeolithic sites) in different parts of the Indo-Pacific Region call for a revision of existing models of human evolution, interaction of hominin species, and patterns of adaptation to cold environments. The chronology of the earliest modern humans in Asia, in some cases based on direct age determination of their fossils by different methods (radiocarbon and U-series dating), has also experienced significant changes. The issue of the spread of early modern humans in the Indo-Pacific Region is also of the utmost importance for understanding the peopling of Australia and the Americas. A revision of the age for the earliest modern Homo sapiens from China is now called for. Evaluations of the various dating techniques for Palaeolithic sites, including the compatibility of radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) methods, are necessary in the light of several controversies in Siberia and China. The inter-regional variation of lithic assemblages in North and East Asia, including the emergence of two phenomena, the Upper Palaeolithic and microblade technology, is also important. One of the key issues is how distinctive is the Upper Palaeolithic in different parts of the Indo-Pacific region in terms of lithic manufacture, subsistence, and site formation. As an example, the evaluation of any evidence for contacts and inter-regional exchange of lithic technologies between China and Korea is needed for a more informed approach to human behavioural development. In this session, we would like to discuss the status quo of Pleistocene hominins in the Indo-Pacific region. We invite speakers to present talks on various aspects of human evolution, including the impact of ancient DNA studies, re-evaluations of chronological data, environmental aspects, and related topics.

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