The Department of Social Sciences and the Institute of Biological Sciences, in partnership with the UPLB GE Council and the UP Alpha Sigma Fraternity, hosted a lecture entitled “Discovering the Callao Hominid and Its Implications to Human Evolution” last February 16, 2016 at the NCAS Auditorium. Dr. Armand Salvador Mijares, Deputy Director of the Archaeological Studies Program of the University of the Philippines Diliman, served as main speaker who discussed the current ideas in the study of human evolution and prehistoric migration.
Dr. Mijares was one of the lead archaeologists in the excavation of the Callao metatarsal, a fossilized toe bone found in the Callao cave in Cagayan Valley. The discovery of the 67,000-year-old Callao metatarsal pushed back the dates of known human habitation in the Philippines from the earlier estimate of 16,500 based on the Tabon skullcap found in Palawan. Dr. Mijares discussed the process through which he and his team successfully located and excavated the fossil, as well as the different dating techniques they used to determine to age of the metatarsal. Dr. Mijares concluded his lecture by discussing the different implications of his discovery, such as the rewriting of contemporary theories on prehistoric human movements in Asia, challenging the idea that early Homo erectus was only able to settle as far as Indonesia and settling in the Philippine Islands only about 4,000-5,000 years ago. Dr. Mijares plans to conduct additional excavations in the areas of Mindoro and Northern Palawan to look for evidence of prehistoric crossing from Palawan to the island of Luzon.