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Cave of the Monkeys: Photos Reveal Early Modern Human Remains

  • Tam Pa Ling

    Map of Laos and Tam Pa Ling cave.
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    CREDIT: Olinchuk | Shutterstock, Inset: F. Demeter
  • Yes, There Are Monkeys

    cave of the monkeys in laos
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    CREDIT: F. Demeter
  • Cave Entrance

    Entrance slope to the floor of Tam Pa Ling. The entrance to the cave is to the right, with the archaeological site at the base of the slope (left side of photo).
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    CREDIT: F. Demeter
  • Layers of Clay

    stratigraphy of Tam Pa Ling cave
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    CREDIT: Images complements of P. Duringer.
  • Human Skull

    Remains of a modern human skull
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    CREDIT: F. Demeter
  • Cave Overview

    The main gallery of Tam Pa Ling shown in December 2008 (top), and in December 2011 (bottom).
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    CREDIT: F. Demeter
  • Skull Reconstructed

    A reconstruction of the human skull discovered in Tam Pa Ling.
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    CREDIT: F. Demeter
  • Excavating Tam Pa Ling

    Researchers excavate the Tam Pa Ling cave.
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    CREDIT: P. Duringer
  • Cave Layers

    The undisturbed layers of the cave (called its stratigraphy).
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    CREDIT: P. Duringer
  • Dark Cave

    Main gallery of Tam Pa Ling, looking north from the cave entrance.
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    CREDIT: P. Duringer
  • Another View of Tam Pa Ling

    Main gallery of Tam Pa Ling from west looking east.
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    CREDIT: P. Duringer
Evidence strongly suggests modern humans migrated out of Africa and into Southeast Asia by at least 60,000 years ago. However, a notable absence of fossil evidence for modern human occupation in mainland Southeast Asia complicates this theory. A partial skull from an anatomically modern human found in Tam Pa Ling, "the Cave of the Monkeys" in northern Laos (shown on map) helps fill in this mysterious gap in the fossil record.

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