New lights on human evolution in Southeast Asia

Author : Sartono, S.
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 269-288
Volume Number : 20
Year : 1987

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 20, August 1986, pp. 269 – 288

New lights on human evolution in Southeast Asia


Department of Geology, Institute of Technology Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia


Abstract: Until about 1980 the subdivision of Pleistocene human fossils as proposed by von Koenigswald in 1968 was still in use. In the last five years new discoveries were made of Pleistocene human remains in Java which necessitate the reassessment of our evolutionary insight on human evolution in this part of the world.

It seems there are two groups of Homo erectus fossils, i.e.: An early Homo erectus trinilensis (cf. H.e. erectus), which is morphological primitive and has an age between late Lower Pleistocene and early Middle Pleistocene.

A late Homo erecrus ngandongensis (cf. H.e. soloensis), which is morphologically progressive and has an age between late Middle Pleistocene up to the end of Upper Pleistocene.

Homo robustus (cf. Pithecanthropus robustus, P. modjokertensis) is regarded as being on the same hominization stage as Homo habilis of Africa and Pithecanthropus lantianensis from China.

There were two main evolutionary lines among Pleistocene hominid fossils of Southeast Asia, i.e. one of Australopithecus and the other of Homo.

The earliest wave of human migration from the Asian main land arrived in Southeast Asia, particularly in Java, at about 1.8 my. B.P. This latter coincided with the onset of Gunz glacial.

Before this period the Southeast Asian region was still inundated by sea which hampered the southwardly migrational movement of early human beings from Asia.