The bioarchaeology team of Jilin University discovered the earliest artificial deformation of human skull

Date:2019-07-14    Times:

Xinhuanet reporters learned from Jilin University that the international innovation team of bioarchaeology at the school discovered the earliest physical evidence of artificial deformation of human skull so far.

This research has an important impact on the research of the world-wide cultural origin of human head artificial deformation. Preliminary evidence shows that the modern human skull deformation culture is likely to originate in the East Asian continent, then spread westward along the Eurasian steppe to West Asia and Europe, and eastward through the Bering Strait to the Americas. The research results were recently published in the famous anthropological journal "American Journal of Physical Anthropology".

In the early stages of human life, the skull is soft. By squeezing the baby's head with your hands, permanent skull reconstruction can be achieved. Artificial skull deformation is an important cultural phenomenon of human civilization, and its origin, development and reasons have not yet been determined.

From 2011 to 2015, the archaeological team of Jilin University presided over the excavation of the Houtaomuga site in Da'an City, Jilin Province. In a more detailed study after the excavation, the team discovered that 11 individuals in the four cultural layers of the Neolithic period at the site had artificial skull deformation, ranging in age from 3 to 40 years old. From more than 12000 years to 5000 years ago, the period lasted more than 7000 years. What they discovered this time is the longest artificial skull deformation culture in the same place in the Neolithic Age.

This research was led by Zhang Quanchao, a professor at the School of Archaeology of Jilin University, and Wang Qian, a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.

"The deformed head excavated this time has a large forehead, which will increase the majesty of the face. It may have a sense of beauty and authority in ancient humans." Zhang Quanchao said.

Wang Qian said that some of these individuals with deformed skulls have richer funeral decorations, suggesting that they may have a higher social status. The origin of artificial skull deformation may also be related to socio-economic development and social class differentiation.

In the next step, the team will explore more mysteries by studying the shape, development and function of the bones and teeth of ancient humans. (Meng Fanqi, Reporter)