Science 2 min read

Researchers Discover Ancient Species of Human in the Philippines

Researchers in the Philippines have discovered a new species of human dating back to over 65,000 years ago, fundamentally changing our theories on human migration and development in that area of the world.

Callao Cave | Wikimedia Commons

Callao Cave | Wikimedia Commons

An international team of researchers recently unearthed the remains of a new species of human in a cave in the Philippines. The discovery proves that the archipelagic nation played a significant role in the history of our evolution.

The new species, named Homo luzonensis after the Northern Philippine island of Luzon, is a distant relative of modern humans. The team discovered the remains within the Callao Cave, the same cave where researchers back in 2007 saw a human bone dating back over 65,000 years.

Back then, scientists were not able to piece out which type of ancient human the bone came from. However, carbon dating results of the recently discovered bones – seven teeth and five other bones – showed that Homo luzonensis lived in the region between 50,000 and 67,000 years ago.

New Species of Human is Proof of Hominin Evolution in Asia

Finding evidence from at least three ancient individuals enabled the research team to build a case study that the fossils were the remains of an unknown kind of human. Florent Detroit, a co-author of the study published in the journal Nature, said:

“From the beginning, we realized the unusual characteristics of these fossils. We completed the comparisons and analyses, and it confirmed that this was something special, unlike any previously described species of hominins in the homo genus.

It’s a mixture that we haven’t seen in other species. And that was what told us, among other things, that this doesn’t correspond to what we know today, so we have described a new species.”

remains of th enew species of human Homo luzonensis
Teeth remain of the so-called new species of human Homo luzonensis | Image courtesy of Callao Cave Archaeology Project

 

While the discovery of Homo luzonensis is a breakthrough in the study of human evolution, it raises many questions about past human migrations and who among the more ancient human precursors it descended from.

Anthropologist Matthew Tocheri said in a statement:

“One thing can be said for certain, our picture of hominin evolution in Asia just got even messier, more complicated, and a whole lot more interesting.”

Read More: AI Reveals Existence Of A Third Unknown Human Ancestor

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    John Usrey April 16 at 6:28 am GMT

    Are the fragments are distinct enough to warrant their classification as an entirely new species?

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