Science

New human species homo luzonensis discovered in a Philippines cave

New human species homo luzonensis discovered in a Philippines cave”

Hominins are members of the human family tree more closely related to one another than to apes.

The Luzon and Flores discoveries demonstrate that the story of human evolution is more complicated than previously understood, with Asia offering up surprises, potentially with more to come, the researchers said.

This undated photo provided by the Callao Cave Archaeology Project in April 2019 shows the right upper teeth of the individual CCH6 of the newly discovered species Homo luzonensis.

The remains of the new human species, found in a cave in the Philippines, was first described in 2010, but paleontologists estimated that the fossil represented a diminutive Homo sapien.

The cave where the fossils were found. Scientists report that tests on two samples from the species show minimum ages of 50,000 years and 67,000 years.

Scientists in the Philippines have discovered the remains of an entirely new extinct species of human in a cave.

The main exodus of our own species from Africa that all of today's non-African people are descended from took place around 60,000 years ago.

Homo luzonensis was a contemporary not only of the Hobbit but of our own species, Homo sapiens, which emerged in Africa roughly 300,000 years ago.

It apparently used stone tools and its small teeth suggest it might have been rather small-bodied, said one of the study authors, Florent Detroit of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

In addition, H luzonensis had toes identical to those of Australopiethecus, a primitive species that lived in Africa at least two million years earlier.

New human species found in the Philippines

But some human relative was on Luzon more than 700,000 years ago, as indicated by the presence of stone tools and a butchered rhino dating to that time, according to Mr Detroit.

Luzonensis also has curved finger and toe bones, suggesting climbing may have been an important part of its behaviour - something associated more with much earlier human species.

In an early migration out of Africa, the incredibly successful Homo erectus made it to China and Indonesia, while it is thought that the more enigmatic Denisovans (a relative of the Neanderthals) may even have reached the vicinity of Papua New Guinea.

Filipino archeologists searching Callao Cave for fossil bones and teeth found in the northern Philippines.

'Others would prefer to regard these island forms as descendants of Homo erectus, subject to isolation and island dwarfing over a considerable period of time'.

The discovery of Homo luzonensis "provides yet more evidence that hints that H. erectus might not have been the only globe-trotting early hominin", wrote Tocheri. But he said the Philippines discovery gives new credence to an alternate view: Maybe some unknown creature other than H. erectus also slipped out of Africa and into Europe and Asia, and later gave rise to both island species.

These discoveries, Potts says, "are going to play havoc with any easy classification" of our ancestors and with the notion that there was a fairly orderly progression from primitive to more "modern" traits. In addition, Homo luzonensis and Homo floresiensis share features with earlier hominins "that were thought to have disappeared from our genus Homo 1.5 million to 2 million years ago", he said.

Discovering a new species of ancient human is a career-maker in anthropology - or career-breaker, if you're wrong.

Michael Petraglia, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, presumed that Homo luzonensis might have built rafts to reach the Philippines.



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