This study aims to present a preliminary approach to the suitability of the “source and sink” model to explain the human settlement of East Asia. We present a general overview of the hominin dental evidence with a special emphasis in some key localities with human remains that have been recently described. Our analysis suggests that the morpho-dimensional variation of the Pleistocene populations from East Asia cannot be accommodated within one single lineage. This evidence seems supportive of an intense but also more discontinuous pattern of occupation. The severe climatic oscillations, the extent of the desert areas and the possibility of intermittent exchanges between continental and insular East Asia, depending on sea level changes, are key factors to identify possible sink and sources in the region. Future studies should focus in a large-scale characterization of the Asian hominins in order to identify morphologically coherent groups and to understand the evolutionary story behind their spatio-temporal distribution.
Teeth, Sink, Source, Homo erectus