3. Original Scientific Paper

The emergence of anatomically modern Homo sapiens in South Asia is hotly debated due to a great gap in fossil record. A solitary partial cranium from Hathnora dated around 250 Kya is debated and conveniently interpreted as evolved Homo erectus or archaic Homo sapiens or Homo heidelbergensis or even Homo indet. Cranial fossils of Pre-Toba or post- Toba anatomically modern Homo sapiens are unknown barring the very late 30 Kya modern human remains from Sri Lanka. The present paper reviews the scenario of human evolution in South Asia with special reference to the cranial and recent postcranial fossil findings by the author in association with the archaeological evidences from Central Narmada valley. It is concluded that the Narmada fossils and archaeological findings support the presence of three hominins- two ‘archaic’ and one ‘early modern’. The Mode 2 Acheulian hominin represented by the calvarium and the femur was a ‘large-bodied’ species akin to Homo heidelbergensis. It appeared first in the Central Narmada valley and was followed by a ‘small-bodied’ Mode 3 archaic type represented by two clavicles and the 9th rib, provisionally named here as Homo narmadensis. It likely continued and attained anatomical and behavioural modernity in South Asia as attested by the humerus and bone artifacts, and diversified to various short-bodied indigenous populations of South Asia supported by the genomic evidences.

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