Humans in the Philippines, 67,000 years ago

Mijares et al report in the Journal of Human Evolution the discovery of a 67,000 year old human 3rd metatarsal at Callao Cave on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The bone is gracile and could be from a small-bodied modern human, like the indigenous “Negrito” people of Island Southeast Asia; or it could be from an earlier-type human – the report stated that it was within the range of Homo habilis or Homo floresiensis.

Either possibility is intriguing – if it is modern, then it implies the migrants from Africa must have left before the 65kya date widely touted, possibly before the Toba eruption – despite the most recent genetic evidence pointing to later rather than earlier dates for the migration. If on the other hand it is pre-modern, then as with Flores we are left with the question of how did archaic humans reach an island which was never connected to the mainland? I’ve always felt that Homo floresiensis is a downsized version of Homo erectus, descended from a small group who reached Flores by accident after being swept out to sea by a storm or tsunami – but another possibility is that Homo floresiensis was a sea-faring species that established itself on at least two islands in ISEA.

Best to reserve judgement for now.


Author: prehistorian

Prehistorian & author

One thought on “Humans in the Philippines, 67,000 years ago”

  1. Christopher, I agree with you wholly! I'd like to pose another question to you though; If both modern humans and neanderthals possess the same FoxP2 gene for language, wouldn't that mean that we both got it from Homo Erectus?

    Look forward to more posts!

    Patrick Bostwick

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