Korean paleoanthropology: Contributions to old world prehistory Event as iCalendar

(Anthropology, Korean, School of Social Sciences)

04 April 2019


Venue: Room 802, Te Puna Mārama / Social Sciences Building (201-802)

Christopher Bae | University of Hawai'i

Being geographically sandwiched between the Chinese mainland and the Japanese archipelago, the Korean peninsula is often the forgotten child during debates current in paleoanthropology. Here, I present several findings from my research in Korea that contribute directly to various debates in human evolutionary studies.

Three topics in particular are discussed here. First, Middle Pleistocene hand-axes were first identified east of the Movius Line in Korea. Second, early modern Homo sapiens fossils are present, some that likely date to 50,000 - 40,000 years BP. These early modern humans likely were part of a larger dispersal out of Africa that moved northward, eventually spreading westward into Europe and eastward into Siberia and Mongolia. Third, beginning by 40,000 years BP, modern human foraging groups that originated from the Korean peninsula dispersed to the Japanese archipelago. These human dispersals, which increased after 30,000 years BP, directly and/or indirectly contributed to megafaunal extinctions in Japan.

Dr Christopher J. Bae is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa. His research interests are diverse but focus on the prehistory of eastern Asia, particularly Korea, China, and Japan, where he has been conducting research for more than the past quarter century. Questions he spends a great amount of time trying to answer are: when did the first homonins arrive in a particular region; by what route did they come; and what happened when later groups of dispersing homonins arrived in the area? As such, much of his research is cross-comparative and interdisciplinary in nature.