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Humans Survived in the Indonesian Rainforest 70,000 Years Ago

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New evidence published in Nature not only suggests that modern humans were present in South-East Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought but that they managed to inhabit rainforests – a concept not thought possible for early humans.

The possibility that humans were in South-East Asia 73–63,000 years ago means they could have potentially made the crossing to the Australian continent even earlier than 50,000 years ago. This is consistent with another recent Nature paper that documented cultural artefacts 65,000 years ago in a rock shelter in northern Australia ( There is also temporal overlap of modern humans and the more ancient “hobbit” fossils found on Flores a couple of islands away.

Griffith University researchers were part of a team that used a combination of methods to date the Lida Ajer cave site in western Sumatra, which contains fossils of rainforest fauna associated with two human teeth. Until now, the significance and validity of the remains had not been widely accepted.

The presence of modern humans in Sumatra up to 73,000 years ago occurred when the region was dominated by a closed canopy rainforest ecosystem similar to today. “Successful exploitation of rainforest environments is difficult, and requires the capacity for...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.