Early presence of Homo sapiens in Southeast Asia by 86–68 kyr at Tam Pà Ling, Northern Laos

Sarah E. Freidline, Kira E. Westaway, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Philippe Duringer, Jean Luc Ponche, Mike W. Morley, Vito C. Hernandez, Meghan S. McAllister-Hayward, Hugh McColl, Clément Zanolli, Philipp Gunz, Inga Bergmann, Phonephanh Sichanthongtip, Daovee Sihanam, Souliphane Boualaphane, Thonglith Luangkhoth, Viengkeo Souksavatdy, Anthony Dosseto, Quentin Boesch, Elise Patole-EdoumbaFrançoise Aubaile, Françoise Crozier, Eric Suzzoni, Sébastien Frangeul, Nicolas Bourgon, Alexandra Zachwieja, Tyler E. Dunn, Anne Marie Bacon, Jean Jacques Hublin, Laura Shackelford, Fabrice Demeter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The timing of the first arrival of Homo sapiens in East Asia from Africa and the degree to which they interbred with or replaced local archaic populations is controversial. Previous discoveries from Tam Pà Ling cave (Laos) identified H. sapiens in Southeast Asia by at least 46 kyr. We report on a recently discovered frontal bone (TPL 6) and tibial fragment (TPL 7) found in the deepest layers of TPL. Bayesian modeling of luminescence dating of sediments and U-series and combined U-series-ESR dating of mammalian teeth reveals a depositional sequence spanning ~86 kyr. TPL 6 confirms the presence of H. sapiens by 70 ± 3 kyr, and TPL 7 extends this range to 77 ± 9 kyr, supporting an early dispersal of H. sapiens into Southeast Asia. Geometric morphometric analyses of TPL 6 suggest descent from a gracile immigrant population rather than evolution from or admixture with local archaic populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3193
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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