We continue to learn more about human evolution every day. A new species of ancient humans has just been discovered in a cave in the Philippines and scientists believe they had ended up there because of a natural calamity.
The new species has been named Homo luzonensis after the specimen was excavated from the Callao cave on the island of Luzon in the northern Philippines. It was dated back to 50,000-67,000 years ago. Interestingly, this was roughly the same time that our human ancestors and Neanderthals were spreading across Europe and into Asia. Amazingly, luzonensis is believed to be even smaller than Homo floresiensis, another ancient species that has been called the “hobbit.”
Some of the teeth that belonged to the ancient humans.
Although the scientists were not able to find a complete skeleton, the excavation yielded seven teeth, two hand bones, three foot bones, and one thigh bone. It is believed that the remains belong to two adults and one child. Interestingly, the bones also revealed some insight into luzonensis’ lifestyle.
The anatomy of luzonensis possibly suggests that the ancient humans were shorter than four feet tall, could walk on two legs, and were adapted to climbing trees. The latter trait is believed to had reappeared as luzonensis adapted to life on the island.
But how exactly did luzonensis end up on the island of Luzon in the first place? Luzon has never been connected to the mainland by a land bridge. Scientists believe that the ancient humans made it to the island through a form of raft. Another theory suggests they were washed up on the island because of a tsunami.
The bones found were smaller than the ancient humans known as the ‘hobbit’.
Florent Détroit of the Natural History Museum in Paris was the first author on the paper. Détroit stated that the discovery is yet another step in understanding our past.
“We now know that it was a much more complex evolutionary history, with several distinct species contemporaneous with Homo sapiens, interbreeding events, extinctions.Homo luzonensis is one of those species and we will [increasingly see] that a few thousand years back in time, Homo sapiens was definitely not alone on Earth.”
Scientists are trying to find out how Homo luzonensis was wiped out and if our own ancestors had something to do with the ancient humans’ demise.
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