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No. 599

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

EARLY HUMAN PRESENCE IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS AS LONG AS 709,000 YEARS AGO HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED.

The National Museum takes great pleasure in announcing the publication of the paper “Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709,000 years ago”, in the May 10, 2018 issue of the journal Nature (with an online version published today, May 3, 2018).

This journal article discusses the discovery of the oldest evidence for the peopling of the Philippines by hominins (species generally of the genus Homo, including Homo sapiens or modern humans) by an international team of prehistorians led by Dr. Thomas Ingicco from the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France, with Mr. Clyde Jago-on, Ms. Catherine King, Ms. Marian C. Reyes, and Mr. Angel Bautista from the National Museum, Philippines, among others from different institutions around the world..

The archaeological excavations in Rizal, Kalinga, which have been ongoing for the last several years, in 2017 yielded animal remains including an almost complete skeleton of Rhinoceros philippinensis, stone tools and a tektite. The rhinoceros remains showed butchery marks (cutmarks and percussion marks), suggesting defleshing and bone marrow extraction. All these archaeological findings are indirect evidence for a very old presence of early humans on the island of Luzon far beyond the former earliest published evidence of 67,000 years relating to a hominid bone fragment from Callao Cave, Cagayan.

The release of this journal article has already swiftly generated international interest, and its findings are indeed of the highest importance to the prehistory of the Philippine islands and the remote origins of the peoples who came to inhabit them.

To present more details from this landmark scientific paper, the National Museum will hold a media and press briefing on May 10, 2018 at 10:30AM at the National Museum of Natural History (former Department of Tourism Building) in Rizal Park, Manila. The contact person for this event is Mr. Erwin Sebastian, who can be reached at (63-2) 5271143 and at [email protected]

Photograph: On site in Rizal, Kalinga, an archaeologist casts a rhinoceros rib within a cluster of bones for careful retrieval from its original position where found and subsequently excavated. The fossils relating to this discovery and the published study are safeguarded at the National Museum, Manila. (By M. Reyes, 2015 ©National Museum)

Here is the link for the article at the Nature website: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0072-8


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