Cagayan Man refers to a group of humans that inhabited the Cagayan Valley area during the Ice Age and which are generally held to be the earliest human inhabitants in the Philippines. This species is also held to be Homo erectus Philippinensis.
The largest amount of prehistoric evidence of human existence in the Philippines was found in the Cagayan Valley. This evidence dates back to the Paleolithic Age, showing that Cagayan Man settled in the area over 500,000 years ago. One theory states that the Cagayan Man followed prehistoric animals to the then uninhabited Philippines from another area, through land bridges that connected the islands to the rest of the continent. The Cagayan Valley was then wet and marshy, and Cagayan Man opted to live in the drier forests surrounding the area.
Cagayan Man was believed to have settled in communities that consisted of thirty to sixty individuals each, occupying an area of around ten kilometers. Families, composed of close kin and extended relatives, marked out their own territories. The communities settled in areas where food was plentiful and moved to another place when the food supply started to run out.
Scientists discovered fossil remains of large animals in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, along with fragments of stone tools which may have been made and used by Cagayan Man for the purpose of hunting and butchering these animals. The fossilized animal bones were identified by Dr. Yves Coppans to be skulls, teeth and tusks from rhinoceros, stegodons, and elaphas (a pygmy elephant).
It can thus be said that the Cagayan Man was a cave dweller who used tools made from pebbles and rocks. The sides of the stones were chipped off to create a sharp edge that could be used for cutting. There has also been evidence that these tools have been worked on and refined to give it a better shape. Larger tools were made from rock cores hammered to form a sharp point.
These fossilized tools were similar to those found with Java Man and Peking Man and were dated to the same time period; however, scientists failed to find fossilized proof of Cagayan Man's bones.
Unlike Tabon Man, whose bones were found by archaeologists in western Palawan, Cagayan Man's remains eluded archaeologists for a long time. The only proofs of his existence are the tools that he had produced and used, and the bones of the animals that he had hunted down.
Archaeologists announced in 2010 that they had discovered a human foot bone in Callao Cave in 2007. Uranium-series dating determined that the bone was about 67,000 years old.
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- "Tuguegarao/Cagayan: the Province at a Glance." Asia Planet. (Accessed on 23 June 2010).
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- Archaeologists find fossils older than Tabon Man in Cagayan. Fidelis Tan. Philippine Online Chronicles. 2 August 2010. (Accessed 22 March 2011.)