Taiwan’s oldest human is younger than thought

Taiwanese prehistory may need a major rewrite, after fossils once thought to be 20,000 years old have been re-dated to be only 3,000 years old.

Taiwan’s 1st human may have arrived only 3,000 years ago
The China Post, 25 December 2015

Lab tests of fossils rewrite Taiwan prehistory [Link no longer active]
Taiwan Today, 25 December 2015

In classrooms across the country, children are taught that the first humans in Taiwan arrived at least 20,000 years ago. Lab results from the U.S. and Australia indicate that it could be as few as 3,000.

A Japanese study on the fossils’ manganese content had indicated that the bones were between 20,000 and 30,000 years old, but the reliability of the dating method has more recently been called into question.

To confirm the age of the fossils, the National Taiwan Museum sent a sample to Beta Analytic in Florida, the world’s largest radiocarbon dating laboratory.

Tests returned in September indicated that the bones were 3,000 years old, according to the museum.

Full stories here and here [Link no longer active].

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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