Evidence of 40,000-Year-Old Modern Culture Unearthed in China, Archaeologists Say

© AP Photo / StringerA Chinese flag is seen at the site of excavation where Chinese archeologists are excavating for Chinese artefacts (File)
A Chinese flag is seen at the site of excavation where Chinese archeologists are excavating for Chinese artefacts  (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
Eurasia saw the first archaic humans at least 2 million years ago, but scientists have been struggling to find out when anatomically modern beings began to spread out of Africa. Now, the northern Chinese province of Xiamabei may help them get closer to the actual timeline.
Modern humans - homo sapiens - could have been present in northern Asia by around 40,000 years ago, having replaced archaic populations across Eurasia, an international team of archaeologists revealed in a new study published in Nature.
The evidence of a modern culture was discovered in the province of Xiamabei in northern China.

"The cultural assembly of traits at Xiamabei is unique for eastern Asia and does not correspond with those found at other archaeological site assemblages inhabited by archaic populations or those generally associated with the expansion of H. sapiens, such as the Initial Upper Palaeolithic", the study said.

The stone technology discovered in the Chinese province was cutting-edge for that time, as it would only spread broadly some 10,000 years later.
Additionally, the Xiamabei site appears to be the earliest known ochre-processing feature, with tools like "a distinctive miniaturised lithic assemblage with bladelet-like tools bearing traces of hafting, and a bone tool".

"The record of northern Asia supports a process of technological innovations and cultural diversification emerging in a period of hominin hybridisation and admixture", the study said.

The scientific team admits that one important feature is still absent: bones. Since no bones were found in connection with the Xiamabei discoveries, they may be associated with other hominin types such as late Denisovans, or even the Neanderthals.
But the unique qualities of the discoveries, along with the remains of modern humans being discovered in the area and proven to be related to the same period of time, the scientists tend to believe that the Xiamabei site also hosted homo sapiens.
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