Friday, 26 April, 2019


NEW human species found in Philippines REWRITES our evolution again

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Kristine Garrett | 13 April, 2019, 00:32

A new species of previously unknown human has been discovered in the Philippines. This indicates the species, dubbed Homo luzonensis, existed when modern humans began to first leave Africa.

Mijares and his global multidisciplinary team found fossils of bones and teeth of at least three individuals excavated separately in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

The remains of the new hominin contained a mixture of old and new features, in a discovery that could revolutionise accepted theories of human evolution.

Mijares, who led a small team of foreign and local archaeologists behind the rare discovery, said he plans to resume the diggings next year and hopes to find larger fossil bones, artifacts, and possibly stone tools used by people in those times.

They included our own species, H sapiens, and Neanderthals, both living in Europe and western Asia, the Denisovans in Siberia, and the diminutive H floresiensis -nicknamed "hobbits" - from Indonesia.

It is still not known whether the new species represent earlier dispersals from Africa than Homo erectus, or whether they are descendants who later shrank and evolved new anatomical traits. "There are only four species in Asia and we have one of them", he said.

Writing in the journal Nature, Dr Florent Detroit, from the Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, and colleagues conclude: "The discovery of H luzonensis underscores the complexity of the evolution, dispersal and diversity of the genus Homo outside of Africa, and particularly in the islands of south-east Asia, during the Pleistocene".

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's becoming clear to experts that early humans came in a lot more shapes and sizes than they once thought.

A foot bone of Homo luzonensis in side view, showing the longitudinal curvature of the bone.

We've learned from looking at their curved toe and finger bones that they likely had to do a lot of climbing.

Interestingly, scientists have also argued that Homo floresiensis shows physical features that are reminiscent of those found in australopithecines.

The presence of Homo luzonensis on an island suggests its ancestors were seafaring. Aside from Callao Cave, human fossils have recently been found in another site in Bulacan province just north of the capital, Manila, Mijares said without elaborating. But other researchers have argued that the Hobbits were descended from Homo erectus but that some of their anatomy reverted to a more primitive state.

This evidence comes from analysis of DNA, as no known Denisovan fossils have been found in the region.

It was originally believed that a big-bodied version of us called Homo Erectus had left Africa around 1.5 million years ago, eventually leading to us - Homo sapiens.

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