More seafaring hominins

Well, that was unexpected.  A new paper in Nature describes a butchered rhinoceros plus stone tools with a conventional date of around 700,000 years ago.  They were found in the Philippines, and they represent the oldest evidence of hominin activity in the country.  They're also additional evidence of early hominins crossing the ocean.  I posted an article last week about putative Neandertal sites in the Greek Isles and the Flores hominins (including the "Hobbit"), and now we can add the Luzon hominins.  The National Geographic piece describing the discovery also mentioned stone tools found on Sulawesi.  All of these sites point to seafaring ability pre-dating the "origin" of Homo sapiens.  I'm not surprised at all.  I don't expect humanity to be limited to modern Homo sapiens, so I should expect signs of humanity in human species other than Homo sapiens.  (Maybe I wouldn't expect them to be published in quick succession, but I shouldn't be surprised.)  On the other hand, the National Geographic author Michael Greshko would not rule out chance dispersal, even with all this evidence.  According to Greshko, "Regional tsunamis may have also washed some terrified H. erectus out to sea. As they clung to floating debris, they may have inadvertently island-hopped."  Yeah.  Seems like a stretch to me.

Ingicco et al. 2018. Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago. Nature DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0072-8.

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