手机知网 App
24小时专家级知识服务
打 开
手机知网|搜索

Magnetostratigraphic dating of early humans in China

Richard Potts;Kenneth A.Hoffman

  China is a key area for research into human occupation in the Old World after the initial expansion of early humans out of Africa.Reliable age determinations are pivotal for assessing the patterns of human evolution and dispersal in this region.This paper reviews magnetostratigraphic studies of some early Pleistocene strata bearing hominin remains and/or artifact stone tools from northern to southern China.The quality and reliability of the paleomagnetic dates are also evaluated.New magnetostratigraphic results for the Xihoudu Paleolithic site in north-central China are also presented. Among the few hominin or Paleolithic sites in China from the early Pleistocene,five have been well investigated.Three of these are in northern China at Xiaochangliang,Donggutuo and Gongwangling;the remaining two in southern China at Longgupo and Yuanmou.Considerable progress has been made during the past three decades towards paleomagnetically dating these sites.Indeed,the age estimates at Xiaochangliang and Gongwangling have been widely accepted.Magnetostratigraphic consensus about the age of the Donggutuo site has also been reached.However,the age determination for the two sites in southern China is still contested. The integration of rock-magnetic stratigraphy with magnetic polarity stratigraphy has resulted in a determined age of 1.36 Ma for a stone tool-containing layer of lacustrine sediments at the Xiaochangliang site in the Nihewan Basin.Lithostratigraphic constraints have significantly contributed to determining the age of Lantian Homo erectus at Gongwangling,which occurred in a loess-paleosol sequence of the southern Loess Plateau.Its age,paleomagnetically derived,is about 1.15 Ma.These two paleomagnetic ages suggest an expansion and flourishing of human groups from northern to norm-central China during the early Pleistocene.This suggestion has been reinforced by our new magnetostratigraphic age estimate of about 1.27 Ma for the Xihoudu site as will be presented in this paper.However,more work is needed for the age determinations of the homininbearing strata at the Longgupo and Yuanmou sites in southern China.Finally,we stress that it is necessary to combine biostratigraphy,lithostratigraphy and rock-magnetic stratigraphy with the traditional magnetic polarity stratigraphy in order to obtain reliable age determinations for strata bearing hominin remains or stone artifacts.……