Manungso Lawas

Manusia dari Minatogawa

In 1970, amount of human skeleton’s fossils was found, in the fissure located at the limestone mining, from Okinawa island (Japan). Later these remains was labeled as Minatogawa man (manusia dari Minatogawa), consists of male skeleton (No.1) and three female skeleton (No. 2, 3 & 4).

By radiocarbon dating gave the date of the remains as about 18000-16000 years BP. Later based on the fluorine content analysis on human and animal skeleton gave the result that Minatogawa man have existed around 17000 years ago.

Minatogawa man have their endocranial volume (1390 ml) less smaller, but their cranium is longer, shorter and wider than recent Japanese’s cranium. Their frontal bone is receded, vault is thick especially around bregma and glabella, supramastoid process and temporal fossa are strongly developed. The lastly two items indicated that Minatogawa man have strongly masticatory system. Moreover, their face bone is shorter but wider compared to recent Japanese’s face bone, their orbit is not rounded but rectangular in form, nasal root is recessed, zygomatic bone is protruded, alveolar bone is less prognathism than that of recent Japanese, their palate along with Jomon’s palate are wider and shallower than recent Japanese’s palate and their teeth is sundadont type like the Jomon’s teeth.

Follow to Turner (1987), the Mongoloids have two major dental patterns: Sundadont (southern) and Sinodont (northern). Sundadont or southern pattern have lower occurrences of shoveling and double-shoveling of incisors and two-rooted of upper third premolar and lower second molar, but on the contrary it has higher occurrences of lower molar having 4 cusps. While Sinodont or northern pattern have higher occurrences of shoveling and double-shoveling of incisors, one-rooted of upper third premolar and lower second molar and more lower molar cusps. In the other words, Sundadont exhibit a pattern of simplification and retention (more generalized), while Sinodont is more specialized. On the basis of this dental pattern is supposed that the early (Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene) and recent Southeast Asians and also Australian aborigine display Sundadont (southern) pattern and Northeast Asians (eg., Northern China and modern Japanese) demonstrate the Sinodont (northern) pattern.

Baba et.al (1998) considered that Minatogawa man are the ancestor of Jomon peoples which have existed during Holocene time between 10,000 to 2000 years ago and the morphological trait of Minatogawa man demonstrate a primitive trait such as thick vault and strongly development of masticatory system. So, in general perspective Minatogawa man also show a generalized (primitive) or robust morphology of H.sapiens.

In comparison to another human fossils such as Zhoukoudian upper cave and Liujiang from China, Jomon from Japan and Wajak from Indonesia, the morphological trait of Minatogawa man’s cranium have strongly similarity to that of Jomon’s cranium and also to Wajak’s cranium in several aspect. So, on the basis of these phenomena show that transformation from Minatogawa to Jomon occurred by local evolution without influenced by gene flow from outside Japan. It means that during Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene there is no immigrant enter to Japan.

Reference:
Arif, J. 2005.Contribution of human fossils from Asia and Southeast Asia for the examination of human history in Southeast Asia. SEASREP Anniversary Conference, Chiang Mai, Thailand, December 7-9, 2005.
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