Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 52, Issue 19, pp 2675–2679 | Cite as

New evidence for human occupation of the northern Tibetan Plateau, China during the Late Pleistocene

  • Yuan BaoYin 
  • Huang WeiWen Email author
  • Zhang David 
Articles Geology


The described stone artifacts are recovered from the 70 m-high terrace (4600 m a.s.l.) at the southeastern shore of the Siling Co on the northern Tibetan Plateau. The terrace was formed during the Interstadial period before the LGM, ca. 40–30 ka B.P. based on paleoenvironmental research. The Paleoliths from the Siling Co provide evidence for early human occupation of the northern Tibetan Plateau. They show technological and typological affinities with the European Middle Paleolithic suggesting that the early human occupation here might relate to migratory waves during the Late Pleistocene that dispersed humans across the Old World.


northern Tibetan Plateau Siling Co’s Paleoliths Interstadial before the LGM migratory waves of early human 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Moore L G, Niermeyer S, Zammudio S. Human adaptation to high altitude: Regional and life-cycle perspectives. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, 1998, 41: 25–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beall C. Adaptations altitude: A current assessment. Annu Rev Anthropol, 2001, 30: 423–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Moore L G, Curran-Everett L, Dromaet T S, et al. Are Tibetans better adapted? Int J Sports Med, 1992, 13(suppl 1): 86–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Niermeyer S, Yang P, Zhuang J, et al. Arterial oxygen saturation in Tibetan and Han infants born in Lhasa, Tibet. New Engl J Med, 1995, 333: 1248–1252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Debenath A, Dibble H L. Handbook of Paleolithic Typology. Vol 1: Lower and Middle Paleolithic of Europe. Library of Cataloging-in-Publication Data, University Museum of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1994. 1–202Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Huang W W. The prehistoric human occupation of the Qinghai-Xizang plateau. Göttinger Geogr Abhand, 1994, 95: 201–219Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Frenzel B, Huang W, Liu S. Stone artifacts from south-central Tibet, China. “Quartär”, 2001, 51/52: 33–53Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shi Y F, Jia Y L, Yu G, et al. Features, impacts and causes of the high temperatures and large precipitation event in the Tibetan Plateau and its adjacent area during 40–30 ka B.P. J Lake Sci (in Chinese), 2002, 14(1): 1–11Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zheng M P, Yuan H R, Zhao X T, et al. The Quaternary Pan-lake(Overflow) Period and paleoclimate on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Acta Geol Sin (in Chinese), 2006, 80(2): 169–180Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Li B Y. The last greatest lakes on the Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau. Acta Geogr Sin (in Chinese), 2000, 55(2): 174–182Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nomura R, Kashiwaya K, Tanaka S, et al. The geomorphic features on the coast of Siling-Co and lake level fluctuations in the Qing-Zang (Tibetan) Plateau. Geomorph Union, 1992, 13(2): 125–140Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lu P, Qu Y H, Li Q W, et al. Selincuo and Bangecuo extensional lake basins in the northern part of Tibet and present chasmic activities. Jilin Geol (in Chinese), 2003, 22(2): 15–19Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gasse F, Arnold M, Fontes J C, et al. A 13000-year climate record from western Tibet. Nature, 1991, 353: 742–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gu Z Y, Liu J Q, Yuan B Y, et al. Lacustrine authigenic deposition expressive of environment and the sediment record from Siling Co, Xizang(Tibet). China Quat Sci (in Chinese), 1994, 2: 162–174Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shi Y F, Yu G. Warm-humid climate and transgressions during 40–30 ka B.P. and their potential mechanisms. Quat Sci (in Chinese), 2003, 23(1): 1–11Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Du N Q, Kong Z C. Palynoflora of the Qarhan Saline Lake and its significance in geography and botany—the sporo-poilen assemblages from CK2022 drilling core at the Bieletan. Acta Botanic Sin (in Chinese), 1983, 25(3): 275–282Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Huang W W, Chen K Z, Yuan B Y. Paleolithic artifacts from Xiao Qaidam, Qinghai Province. In: Sino-Australian Quaternary Cooperative Research Team, Chinese Academy of Sciences, eds. Papers of Sino-Australian Quaternary Conference (in Chinese). Beijing: Science Press, 1987. 168–175Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Zhang D D, Li S H. Optical dating of Tibetan human hand-and footprings: An implication for the palaeoenvironment of the last glaciation of the Tibetan Plateau. Geophys Res Lett, 2002, 29(5): 1072CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of GeographyHong Kong UniversityHong KongChina

Personalised recommendations