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The First Pinoy?

Written by MIKO SANTOS | AJPress Los Angeles

Saturday, 07 August 2010 21:38 -

A SMALL bone which experts believed to be 67,000 years old could rewrite
Filipino history as we know it.

The foot bone, the third metatarsal bone of the right foot, predates the 47,000
year old Tabon Man that was previously known to be as the first human to have
lived in the Philippines.

Archaeologists from the University of the Philippines and the National Museum,
headed by Professor Armand Mijares, dug up the bone in 2007, but it has taken
three years to work out the age of the 2.4 inch metatarsal bone, using a method
called uranium series dating, which has been carried out in France.

Their report on "Callao Man" was released in the latest edition of the Journal of
Human Evolution after tests in France established the fossil’s age, said Mijares.

The discovery was unearthed at the Callao caves near Penablanca, Cagayan 210
miles north of Manila.

Mijares believes that it could be the earliest human fossil found the Asia-Pacific

Mijares said the evidence suggested that Callao Man or his ancestors reached

The First Pinoy?

Written by MIKO SANTOS | AJPress Los Angeles

Saturday, 07 August 2010 21:38 -

Luzon in the Philippine archipelago by raft at a time when experts did not think
humans were capable of travelling long distances by sea.

Mijares speculates, "My current hypothesis is they crossed the open sea from the
Sundaland (tip of Palawan) to Mindoro then to Luzon. During the lowest sea level,
that will still be about 60 km to Mindoro, and from there just short island hopping."

Animal bones found near the discovery suggested that "Callao Man" was an
accomplished hunter and was skilled with tools.

Mijares stressed the finding that Callao Man belongs to Homo sapiens was still
only provisional. Some of the bone’s features were similar to Homo habilis and
Homo floresiensis—which are distinct species from humans.

Existing evidence suggests that Homo sapiens, modern man, first appeared in
Africa about 200,000 years ago.

Homo habilis is considered a predecessor to Homo sapiens while Homo

floresiensis is thought to be a short, human-like species that once existed on an
Indonesian island in the Late Pleistocene stage.

Mijares said that Callao Man also shared some features of today’s Aetas, the
short, curly-haired, dark-skinned people who are indigenous to the Philippines.

According to Dr. Victor Paz, a UP colleague of Mijares who was not part of the

The First Pinoy?

Written by MIKO SANTOS | AJPress Los Angeles

Saturday, 07 August 2010 21:38 -

excavation, the bone could be evidence of human "speciation" taking place in

Luzon. Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species

"If speciation did take place in the region and more evidence comes out of older
modern human remains, it may seriously challenge current conventions on the
spread of modern humans to our region," Paz said.

The team now plans to apply for permits for a larger excavation of the Callao
caves in the hope of making further discoveries to cement their theories.

Archeologists have been exploring the Callao caves system since the 1970s. It
has yielded stone tools dated to about 26,000 years ago, which meant humans
had inhabited the area.

Tabon Man, the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone from three individuals,
was discovered along with stone flake tools by a National Museum team in a cave
on the western Philippine island of Palawan in May 1962. (With reports from AFP,, GMANews.TV)

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( Published August 7, 2010 in Asian Journal Los Angeles p. A1 )