Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (06): 931-942.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2020.0054

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Mosaic dental morphology of a newly discovered human upper premolar and AMS 14C dating of the Weijiadong cave site in Guizhou province, South China

GUO Lin1,2,3(), ZHAO Lingxia1,3(), ZHENG Yuanwen4, ZHANG Lizhao1,2,3, DU Baopu1,5, DAI Li4, CAI Huiyang6, WANG Xinjin7   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. College of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    4. Bijie Relics of Guizhou, Bijie 551700
    5. Department of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069
    6. Guizhou Provincial Museum, Guiyang 550001
    7. Guizhou Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Guiyang 550003
  • Received:2020-08-10 Revised:2020-09-04 Online:2021-12-15 Published:2021-12-17
  • Contact: ZHAO Lingxia;


Weijiadong Paleolithic cave site located in Bijie City, Guizhou province in southern China, was first discovered in 2007. Further excavations conducted during the field season of 2016~2018, where thousands of paleolithic artifacts, rich animal bone fragment remains, and human teeth were discovered from the upper disturbed layer. In 2018, the original lower deposit layer was uncovered at the front part of cave entrance and inner part of the cave back. The approach of 14C AMS dates the geological age of the Paleolithic layer as old as 12-27 ka BP in the termination of late-Pleistocene. One human right upper P4 (WJD-H4) was discovered in 2016 from the disturbed layer. In the present paper, we described in detail followed by comparison with modern and fossil humans in dental measurements and morphological traits. The crown size, mesial-distal length 6.9 mm, buccal-lingual width 10.8 mm, is within the range of modern Chinese. However, the buccal-lingual width is much wider at the superior limit of modern humans, also larger than the superior limit of early modern humans within east Asia and comparable to some middle Pleistocene fossils from China. The morphology study indicates the mosaic of its modern and primitive traits. The occlusal enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) is relatively simple without accessory ridges, and a single root with Vertucci Type I canal is common within the modern population. Considering the geological background of this site, WJD-H4 would represent members of early modern humans. However, several primitive traits are present, such as buccal triangular swelling, cingulum, buccal and lingual vertical grooves in the crown of outer enamel surface (OES) and EDJ, swelling in the middle of the root, and those are quite common in middle Pleistocene hominins. Especially, lingual vertical grooves are the first case in the late Pleistocene specimen in China. Marginal accessory tubercles were presented in WJD-H4 as well, a medium high-frequently regional trait in the modern populations in East Asia. In conclusion, the human upper premolar morphology from the Weijiadong cave site indicates the mosaic evolution of early modern humans in the Late Pleistocene.

Key words: Paleoanthropology, Premolar, Non-metric traits, Late Pleistocene, Mosaic Evolution

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