Two partial archaic human skulls, from the Lingjing site, Xuchang, central China, provide a new window into the biology and populations patterns of the immediate predecessors of modern humans in eastern Eurasia.
Securely dated to about 100,000 years ago, the Xuchang fossils present a mosaic of features.
- With late archaic (and early modern) humans across the Old World, they share a large brain size and lightly built cranial vaults with modest brow ridges.
- With earlier (Middle Pleistocene) eastern Eurasian humans, they share a low and broad braincase, one that rounds onto the inferior skull.
- With western Eurasian Neandertals, they share two distinct features -- the configuration of their semicircular canals and the detailed arrangement of the rear of the skull.
More importantly, he noted: "The features of these fossils reinforce a pattern of regional population continuity in eastern Eurasia, combined with shared long-terms trends in human biology and populational connections across Eurasia. They reinforce the unity and dynamic nature of human evolution leading up to modern human emergence."