(ORDO NEWS) — A group of researchers from Australia, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam have found a 6,000-year-old skull and femur in a cave in Taiwan’s mountainous area that could prove the existence of an ancient indigenous tribe.
In their paper, published in the journal World Archeology, the research team describes the skull, where it was found and what it might look like.
In Taiwan, stories are passed down from generation to generation about a tribe of short, dark-skinned people who once lived in the mountainous regions of the island.
But so far there has been no physical evidence of their existence. In the new work, the researchers found a skull and leg bones in the cave, which have been dated to about 6,000 years ago – before the ancestors of people living on the island arrived here.
By studying the DNA from the skull, the researchers found that it was close to African samples from around the same time period.
But they also found that its size and shape are reminiscent of the Negritos who lived in what is now South Africa and the Philippines.
Examination of the bones left in these areas showed that they were rather short in stature with a small body size. The femurs found next to the skull belonged to the same person as the skull, a young woman. According to researchers, her height was approximately 1.3 meters.
The researchers believe that their findings confirm the existence of ancient people in Taiwan, but do not explain what could have happened to them.
They appear to have disappeared by the time other early Austronesian groups of people began to arrive.
The researchers also note that references to small black people are found in documents from the Quyin Dynasty, and all but one of the 16 Austronesian groups living in Taiwan today have stories that describe small black people who once lived in the mountains.
However, as the researchers note, these stories differ in different groups: some believe that early people were their ancestors. Others consider them former enemies. One group claims to have exterminated the last ancient humans 1,000 years ago.
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