Archaeologists from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman have discovered fossils, mollusk remains, and stone fools that date back to the last ice age at Pilanduk Cave in Palawan.
The team of scientists, led by UPD's Dr. Janine Ochoa, worked alongside the National Museum and the indigenous Pala'wan community to find the remains from the last glacial maximum (LGM).
Titled "Tropical island adaptations in Southeast Asia during the Last Glacial Maximum: Evidence from Palawan," their research unearthed evidence securely placing the age of human settlement in Pilanduk Cave some 20,000 to 25,000 years ago. This is in addition to their hunting and foraging behavior on Palawan Island 40,000 years ago.
Ochoa and her team re-excavated Pilanduk Cave from 2017 to 2020, continuing research done by the National Museum in 1969.
According to the scientist, the cave was well-preserved, with fauna, vertebrate remains, shells, mollusks, and lithic materials still on-site. Fossils of a tiger (Panthera tigris) and an extinct deer were also found.
"[Pilanduk] has the best preserved archaeological record from any site in the Philippine archipelago. There are not many LGM sites in the Philippines because many are likely submerged underwater when the coastlines and sea levels were much lower during the LGM," Ochoa said.