Re: Neanderthals...

Alex Duncan (
26 Sep 1995 00:51:46 GMT

In article <> Gerrit Hanenburg, writes:
>In a footnote (p.243) in "The Fossil Trail" Tattersall mentions dates of
>about 1.8 and 1.6 myr for two hominid fossils from Java.
>These dates were obtained by Carl Swisher and colleagues (Institute of Human
>Origins).I believe the specimens were the Modjokerto infant and one from
>Sangiran (Sangiran 4?).
>Have these dates been confirmed by others?

Extremely old ages (on the order of 1.6 - 2.0 Myr) have frequently been
claimed for the Java hominids, based upon tentative associations w/ a
poorly understood biostratigraphy & upon scantly paleomag data. Problems
arose because of the questionable assoication between the hominids and
the fauna, because the paleomag data usually consisted of only a few
samples, and because many of the hominids were excavated prior to the
development of modern techniques. Swisher et al's date of 1.8 Myr
confirms what had been suspected by some people for a long time. (Note I
say "some people" -- the convential wisdom up until the publication of
the Swisher paper was that none of the Java hominids could be older than
1.0 Myr.)

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086