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New Early Human Species

  • Category
    Miscellaneous
  • Published
    18th Apr, 2019
  • Recently, a new species of ancient human (more correctly hominin) is found from Philippines known as Homo luzonensis, after the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, where it was recovered during excavations of Callao Cavein 2007, 2011 and 2015.
  • Scientists found these remains aged between 67,000 years to 50,000 years old (Late Plesitocene Period).

Context

  • Recently, a new species of ancient human (more correctly hominin) is found from Philippines known as Homo luzonensis, after the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, where it was recovered during excavations of Callao Cavein 2007, 2011 and 2015.
  • Scientists found these remains aged between 67,000 years to 50,000 years old (Late Plesitocene Period).

About

Features of Homo luzonensis:

  • Its anatomy is argued to be a peculiar mix of features normally found in living humans, Homo erectus, the Hobbit (Homo floresiensis) and Australopithecus.
  • The finger and toe bones are curved, suggesting climbing was still an important activity for this species. This also seems to have been the case for some australopithecines.
  • Unlike Homo sapiens, whose premolar teeth generally have a single root, Homo luzonensis' premolars had two or three roots, similar to more primitive species such as Homo erectus, which lived in Africa and Asia between about 1.89 million and 143,000 years ago.

Excavations:

  • This new human species is represented by a handful of heavily worn adult teeth from one or two individuals, one foot and two toe bones, two finger bones, and the fragment of the shaft of a juvenile thigh bone.
  • Analysis of this foot bone suggested that it belonged to the genus Homo, but to which species was unclear.
  • Recently, researchers found twelve additional hominin elements that represent at least three individuals that were found in the same stratigraphic layer of Callao Cave as the previously discovered metatarsal.
  • It’s quite possible that Homo luzonensis was smaller than Homo sapiens, and perhaps even smaller than Homo floresiensis.

Significance

  • These newly discovered specimens display combination of primitive and derived morphological features which are different from combination of features found in other species in genus Homo and warrants their attribution to a new species.
  • It challenges fairly straightforward idea of human evolution. The traditional narrative suggests that Homo sapiens evolved from ancient species of Homo erectus in Africa and dispersed from there around 50,000 years ago.
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