2022 Volume 130 Issue 1 Pages 55-74
East Asia is an essential region for understanding the evolution and extinction of hominins. Several members of the genus Homo lived there including H. erectus, H. floresiensis, and H. luzonensis. There were Denisovans who were identified by ancient DNA analysis of a finger bone from Denisova Cave, late archaic Homo with various morphologies in the Middle and Late Pleistocene in China. A fossilized archaic Homo mandible called Penghu 1 was also found from Penghu submarine channel near Taiwan. H. sapiens, on the other hand, first spread from Africa to other regions around 210000–60000 years ago, then after 60000 years ago, reaching East Asia. Did the diverse genus Homo and H. sapiens coexist in eastern Asia? In this review, we focus on where and when the various genera of Homo lived in eastern Asia and review the latest findings, especially for sites where hominin fossils have been excavated. In addition to the fossil record, we also outline the genetic information of Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens, the timing of their spread, and summarize the currently available information. Finally, we discuss new methods such as ancient proteomics, ancient DNA in soil, and morphological analysis using non–adult bones for phylogenetic inference and taxon identification in the genus Homo.