For more than a century, scientists have returned time and again to the issue of modern human emergence-the when and where of the evolutionary process and the human behavioral and biological dynamics involved.The 2003 discovery of a human partial skeleton at Tianyuandong (Tianyuan Cave) excited worldwide interest. The first human skeleton from the region to be directly radiocarbon-dated (to 40,000 years before present), its geological age places it close to the time period during which modern humans became permanently established across the Old World (between 50,000 and 35,000 years ago).Through detailed description and interpretation of the most complete early modern human skeleton from eastern Asia, "The Early Modern Human from Tianyan Cave, China," addresses long-term questions about the ancestry of modern humans in eastern Asia and the nature of the changes in human behavior with the emergence of modern human biology.This book is a detailed, paleontological and paleobiological presentation of this skeleton, its context, and its implications. By providing basic information for this important human fossil, offering inferences concerning the population processes involved in modern human emergence in eastern Eurasia, and by raising questions concerning the adaptations of these early modern human hunter-gatherers, "The Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, China" will take its place as a core contribution to the study of modern human emergence.
"Not only does this detailed monograph on Tianyuan stand as an excellent example of high-quality description and analysis of important human fossils, it also provides, for the first time, reliably dated evidence on the initial appearance of early modern people on the East Asian mainland. Thus, this work will have a significant impact on our understanding of later human evolution in Asia for many years to come, regardless of individual views on evidence for continuity between early modern and archaic Asians."--Fred Smith, professor of anthropology and Biological Sciences Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University