Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Hualongdong skull from China supports pre-OOA Homo sapiens evolution in Asia

A paper published last April (Archaic human remains from Hualongdong, China, and Middle Pleistocene human continuity and variation by Xiu-Jie Wu et al., PNAS May 14, 2019 116 (20) 9820-9824; first published April 29, 2019 challenges the commonly accepted viewpoint on human evolution: a skull that is 300,000 years old shows a mixture of ancient Asian and anatomically modern human (AMH) features.

The skull - Hualongdong 6 or HLD 6 for short- is one of a growing group of Asian, and specially Chinese crania displaying a mosaic of archaic and AMH features.

A virtual reconstruction HLD6 with the actual parts (yellow) and the mirror-images of the missing pieces (gray). The image also shows some stone tools found at the site

Why is HLD 6 important? Because it questions the Out of Africa model (AMH originated in Africa and spread across the world 60 Kya). It is clear evidence that shows the legacy of Homo erectus in Asia: they were successful, and evolved into Asian populations of Homo sapiens long beore African Homo sapiens left their homeland.

The abstract of this paywalled paper says:

"Newly found ∼300,000-y-old human remains from Hualongdong (HLD), China, including a largely complete skull (HLD 6), share East Asian Middle Pleistocene (MPl) human traits of a low vault with a frontal keel (but no parietal sagittal keel or angular torus), a low and wide nasal aperture, a pronounced supraorbital torus (especially medially), a nonlevel nasal floor, and small or absent third molars. It lacks a malar incisure but has a large superior medial pterygoid tubercle. HLD 6 also exhibits a relatively flat superior face, a more vertical mandibular symphysis, a pronounced mental trigone, and simple occlusal morphology, foreshadowing modern human morphology. The HLD human fossils thus variably resemble other later MPl East Asian remains, but add to the overall variation in the sample. Their configurations, with those of other Middle and early Late Pleistocene East Asian remains, support archaic human regional continuity and provide a background to the subsequent archaic-to-modern human transition in the region."

So despite my reservations on Chinese science and the state promoted Sino-centric view (akin to the deplorable Aryanism promoted by India's Hindu nationalist BJP party), I must acknowledge science and proof. HLD 6 is proof of human multiregional evolution.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2019 by Austin Whittall © 


  1. HLD6 is one of the “missing pieces” that Chinese researchers were looking for since many years, in order to be able to fill some “holes” that the anthropological record of East Asia has always had up to now…and certainly can contribute to give more support to their hypothesis of an independent and continuous evolution towards modern human in East Asia.
    It would not deny at all Africa´s evolution (which seems to be unquestionable)…but obviously it would put down to the ground it´s “unique” character, represented by Out of Africa (OOA)
    The idea of evolutionary convergence always seemed to me a beautiful conception because, in my modest opinion, another pole of evolution towards AMH located in Asia, really makes sense if we consider that H. erectus was the species that, by far, most dominated geographically and chronologically the evolution in genus Homo, and most broadly evolved in terms of endocranial capacity;… from as low as 727 cm3 from Olduvai hominid 12, up to a remarkable 1225 cm3 from Zhoukoudian 10 (still 100% erectus) which clearly overlapps the “low range” of H. sapiens!!…
    What we may perfectly speculate is up to what degree both independent regional poles of evolution ( Africa and East Asia) could have given rise to “absolutely identical” species…we should suspect that most probably they were not, although both were within “H. sapiens parameters”.
    Amazing subject!!
    Best regards

    1. Marcelo. The point you raise is interesting: Could "humans" from Asia and Africa who are from lines that separated almost 2 Million years ago meet and mate and produce viable offspring? Perhaps there was a continuous exchange over the millennia? (maybe, maybe not, it seems unlikely due to the distances and the small human population)... it is an open question.


    2. Austin, I could not risk even a tentative answer to this open question… but, as you do, I too speculate that the complex convergence mechanisms that could have taken place in East Asia, at that time…never, but never, could have led to a specie 100% identical as African AMH, but who knows?, perhaps this regional version could have been sensibly close to a modern human…
      I think we don´t need to accept the whole concept of the multiregional evolution model as is proposed by Chinese researchers, as well all of the implications they hold…
      As an example; it seems to me particularly reckless their assumption that actual Chinese people could have been direct descendants of these transitional H erectus, because of some supposedly shared facial traits…when actually, it is suspected that the actual and particular Chinese facial traits were not always consistent along the times…because in fact, since 2000 years BC and lasting for at least one millenium, the West of China was strongly influenced by the “dominant elites” at the time…nomad Indo-European tribes from the Caucasus region… who imposed there not only their culture and a language, the “Tocharian” (now extinct, but much more related to actual Europeans ones than to actual Chinese), but also their genes…up to the degree that it would be highly probable that a considerable part of Chinese population at the time had “Caucasian traits”…similar to that´s from the several “caucasoid” mummies found in the Tarim basin, Xinjiang, China, dated at the Bronze Age.
      So, in my opinion, even when we must carefully filter some aspects like this, from what is proposed… there is anyway, enough evidence suggesting that, since 300 Ka or so ago, “something” happened in East Asia… We can name it the way we like (I would tentatively choose the word “evolutionary convergence”), but it appears to have been very relevant in terms of genus Homo evolution…

  2. Dear Austin, I am disappointed in you. While every review of the paper parrots the Chinese view, we both know that continuity of population within China since the time of Homo erectus or mid Pleistocene archaic hominins is extremely unlikely. This is proven by the simple scientific fact that no Chinese population shows any introgression of archaic genomes that would substantiate their sinocentrist position. I find it implausible that no ancient remains older than 45k have been sequenced by the Chinese. Until we have ancient DNA from one of their specimens showing genetic continuity with modern Chinese, their theory 'multiregionalism' of evolution for humanity is just hot air. Or hogwash! NeilB

    1. Thank you Neil B. As I expressed several times, I am an "anti-Sino-centric" and I do have some strong opinions on how the Chinese government promotes this type of "science". Yes, the continuity from H. erectus to modern Chinese is highly improbable, yet it could be possible.
      We have not found yet one single instance of H. erectus DNA -though several "ghosts" mentioned in some Western papers- found in any ancient or modern humans.
      I guess we will have to wait until more proof appears.
      In the meantime I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

  3. Multi Regional via earlier archaic dispersion which predated North Africas Homo Sapiens dispersion in the Middle Paleolithic. That's how I understand it too.
    I feel fortunate to learn these things when I think back on discussions about human evolution with my grandmother. She was a school teacher(loved painting ceramics too) and had hope that future studies would tell us how we really got here.
    We all should consider how lucky we are that science has brought these things forward.
    Thank you Austin for the article.

  4. Thanks for all your interesting articles!
    The full version of the above paper is available here:

  5. I actually completely agree with Steve on the 'interesting articles' point - Austin if there was an award for best science blogger of the year I'd put you up for it (definitely not myself).
    As for giving Chinese scientists the 'benefit of the doubt', you are of course correct. I should wait for further evidence, before shouting "Hogwash!" my bad. NeilB


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