The skeletons of Minatogawa Man, found on Okinawa Island in 1970, have been morphologically reevaluated. The skulls of Minatogawa Man are characterized by a low and wide face with rectangular orbits, a projected glabellar region, a depressed nasal root and deep temporal fossae, which more or less resemble those of the late Pleistocene men from Zhoukoudian Upper Cave and Liujian and early Holocene Jomon people in Japan. In Minatogawa Man, however, the development of these characteristics is very pronounced. In the Minatogawa and Jomon skulls the zygomatic bones protrude anteriorly and the zygomatic arches are thin and flared, which are different from the features of the Upper Cave and Liujian men. Besides the skulls, the Minatogawa postcranial bones stand apart from those of the Zhoukoudian Upper Cave, Liujian, Jomon Japanese, and are close to Zhoukoudian Homo erectus, in some characteristics. Therefore, Minatogawa Man should be assigned to the oldest type of Mongoloids or modern Homo sapiens in East Asia. We infer that he might be a direct ancestor of Jomon people, but not an ancestor of the Upper Cave and Liujian men.
Japan Association for Quaternary Research