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Ancient 'Red Deer Cave' people discovered in Yunnan

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Anatomically unique fossils unearthed in Yunnan could be those of a previously unknown species of human. The remains were first discovered in 1989 inside of southern Yunnan's Maludong cave (马鹿洞), near the city of Jianshui (建水). Until this year the fossils had yet to be studied.

The three specimens have been dubbed Red Deer Cave people after the cave where they were found and the large collection of deer bones located inside it. Radiocarbon dating of ashes found alongside the fossils revealed that they are between 11,500 and 14,300 years old.

Those dates place the find in the Pleistocene era when humans are thought to have evolved into their present form. The specimens from Maludong have traits unique from modern people, yet lived at a time when all other species of human beings were thought by scientists to be extinct.

A team of anthropologists from China and Australia first published their results in the peer-edited journal PlosOne. The group was led by Darren Cunroe, a professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Ji Xueping of the Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology.

What makes the find unique for anthropologists are the subjects' facial features. The specimens have broad, flat noses and jutting jaws that lack defined chins. Cunroe, writing for the website Cosmos, says that what is confusing is that the facial characteristics do not fit with current evolutionary understanding:

What stands out in our study is a 'gap' between the anatomical features of the Red Deer Cave people and the modern humans around them that points towards a genetic and historical break.

The bones and teeth of the Red Deer Cave people possess a range of features that are either rare in, or absent from, modern humans. [...] Modern human skulls don't possess this set of characters, whether they are 150 or 150,000 years old, and no matter where they lived.

Publication of the team's findings has led to spirited debate in the anthropological community. Some scientists say the facial anomalies simply point to the diversity of human features and contend that the fossils are not of a new species.

Cunroe believes once he and his team have extracted DNA samples from the cave people's remains, "the exact nature of their relationship to us should be revealed."

Photo: Abc.net.au

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Drum Major

Evolution is a theory that after all this time is still not proven. Extinction of species and increase of numbers of other existing species to fill the void left by the extinct species is well known. The ostracising of deformed or different to the norm members of a species is well known. A family confined to their own cave away from other members of their own species because of a deformity that would likely get them killed if they joined main stream species is not far fetched. Scientists spend far to much energy trying to link various pieces of bones back to other species because there thinking is trapped in the unproven evolution theory.

Drum Major

Delete 'there thinking'; insert 'their thinking'.

You have a better theory that fits all the available facts? Lets hear it.

Drum Major,
The word "theory" in science has a different meaning than it does in popular speech. If you are interested, a quick look into that word might help answer your objection to evolution.

Walter

Anyone know an Asian historical climatologist?

My pet theory: Apparently about that time (end of the Pleistocene, turn of the Holocene) global sea levels were ~100m higher. That would have meant that the Vietnamese delta around Hanoi was possibly quite flooded. In turn, this could have pressed any native peoples and fauna of that region northward up the Red River valley.

There is a need for people to update knowledge bases

Darwin's Law of Evolution by Natural Selection (traditionally referred to as a "theory" to honor Darwin's original treatise, but now confirmed through observation and experiment) consists of five main tenets.
www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/Darwin.htm

Google of [Darwin's Law] will bring up many scientific websites.

The semantic argument that this is a theory and not a law is out of date.

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