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'Java Man' takes age to extremes

New dating of Indonesian strata produces unexpected results

By
2:34pm, April 16, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE — New age estimates for Homo erectus fossils on the Indonesian island of Java have physical anthropologists scratching their crania.

After convincing most of their colleagues that H. erectus may have persisted on the Indonesian island of Java as recently as 30,000 years ago — late enough to have coexisted in Asia with modern humans for more than 100,000 years — anthropologists presented new analyses April 14 suggesting the fossils in question may actually predate Homo sapiens by hundreds of thousands of years.

It all depends which radiometric method you use to assess the fossils’ age, New York University anthropologist Susan Antón reported at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Antón and an Indonesian colleague lead a team that first announced in 1996 that sediment at two H. erectus sites on Java dates to between 50,000 and 30,000 yea

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