Dr. Janine Ochoa of the UP Department of Anthropology, together with archaeologists from the National Museum and leaders and members of the indigenous Pala’wan community, have presented new radiocarbon dates and identified new fossils from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), or at the height of the last ice age at Pilanduk Cave in Quezon, Palawan.
Abstract: Throughout the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, humans adapted to significant climate and environmental change. One key region for investigating these adaptive strategies is Island Southeast Asia, where fluctuating sea levels led to dramatic changes in coastlines, vegetation and fauna. The authors present new data from the re-excavation of Pilanduk Cave on Palawan Island, Philippines. The results corroborate the results of earlier excavations that identified Pleistocene occupation of the site. Pilanduk shows evidence for specialised deer hunting and freshwater mollusc consumption during the Last Glacial Maximum. The results add to the evidence for the shifting foraging behaviours of modern humans occupying variable tropical environments across Island Southeast Asia.
Some highlights from the paper:
• New radiocarbon dates that securely place the age of human occupation of Pilanduk Cave at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) at ca. 20,000 – 24,000 years ago
• LGM fossil evidence for the tiger (Panthera tigris) and extinct deer on Palawan Island
• Evidence for specialised deer hunting and freshwater mollusc foraging during a time when Palawan had a very different environment compared to the present day
• Evidence for shifting foraging behaviours (ecological and behavioural flexibility) of modern humans occupying changing tropical environments (climate and environmental changes) across ca. 40,000 years on Palawan Island
Article citation: Ochoa, J., Carlos, J., Lara, M., De Leon, A., Choa, O., Cabrera, P., . . . Garong, A. (2022). Tropical island adaptations in Southeast Asia during the Last Glacial Maximum: Evidence from Palawan. Antiquity, 1-15. doi:10.15184/aqy.2022.88
Photo: Picture of tiger foot bone fossil, courtesy of Dr. Ochoa.