Homo luzonensis – New Ancient Human Species Discovered
The human family tree has acquired a new branch with the unearthing of a previously unknown species of human that lived 50,000 years ago on an island in today’s Philippines. The species dubbed Homo luzonensis is not a direct ancestor of modern-day humans but rather it is a distant ancient relative.
According to the article published in the journal Nature, the discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that human evolution is not as linear as was once thought.
A big Question arises how the species arrived on the island and who its ancestors were?
In a review commissioned by Nature – Matthew Tocheri, associate professor of anthropology at Canada’s Lakehead University stated that- This remarkable discovery will no doubt ignite plenty of scientific debate over the coming weeks, months and years.
The remains of this unknown species were found in the Callo Cave by the researchers from France, Philippines, and Australia – where a bone dating back 67,000 years was discovered in 2007. It was not clear initially which type of early human that bone came from but recently the researchers have discovered seven teeth and five different bones at the site, which is said to be dating back between 50,000 and 67,000 years.
By taking more evidence from three individuals to examine they were able to build the case that the remains came from a previously unknown type of human.
Detroit, a palaeoanthropologist at France’s Musee de l’Homme stated that- they completed the comparisons and analyses, and it confirmed that this was something special unlike any previously described species of hominins in the homo genus.
The teeth they found had a surprising combination of elements from different early humans. Detroit stated that its a mixture that they haven’t seen in other species. And they are told that among other things that this doesn’t correspond to what they know today, so we have described a new species.
But the discovery raises many questions which include how Homo luzonensis got to the island, which researchers say has always a required “a substantial sea crossing” to reach from the mainland and all other related questions are still in mind of the researchers.
Which of the more ancient human precursors recorded in the fossil record in Africa Homo luzonensis may be descended from is still a question in the mind of the Researchers.
By the discoveries in recent years of species that do not appear to be descended from Homo erectus, including Homo floresiensis, the so-called “hobbit” found in 2004 on an Indonesian island the theory has faced many challenges.
Homo luzonensis foot bone is unlike any of its known human contemporaries but it resembles those of a human species known to have existed in Africa around two to three million years earlier. It also has curved finger and toe bones suggesting climbing may have been an important part of its behavior something associated more with much earlier human species.
Detroit stated that – for this moment they believe Homo luzonensis are most likely walked upright rather living in trees as the remains also suggest that the species was small perhaps standing less than four feet tall.
One theory holds on one question that the peculiar features of Homo luzonensis and its island cousin floresiensis could be the result of their habitat because of the unique and isolated surroundings prompting them to evolve characteristics reminiscent of their ancient forebears. But definitive evidence on that front remains is still to be collected and till now all the efforts to extract DNA from the new specimens have been unsuccessful.
Tocheri Stated that One thing can be said for certain. the picture of hominin evolution in Asia just got even messier, more complicated and a whole lot more interesting in their perspective.