New species of ancient human discovered in Philippineshttps://indianexpress.com/article/research/new-species-of-ancient-human-discovered-in-philippines/

New species of ancient human discovered in Philippines

The newest discovery challenges the fairly straightforward idea of human evolution. With the new finding, it becomes clear that the homo sapiens were definitely coexisting with other human species in other parts of the globe.

ancient human species, philippines, Homo luzonensis, luzon, homo sapiens, human evolution, philippines news, world news, Indian Express
Callao Cave on Luzon Island, in the Philippines, is seen in a view taken from the rear of the first chamber of the cave, where the fossils of newly identified hominin species Homo luzonensis were discovered. (Reuters)

The already entangled branches of human evolution have a new development. A new species of ancient human has been discovered in a cave in the Philippines. Excavated in Callao Cave in Luzon island, the specimen is named Homo luzonensis and is dated to 67,000 years ago. The report of the discovery was published in the journal Nature on Wednesday titled ‘A new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines’. The report claims the finding to be the ‘earliest direct evidence of a human presence in the Philippines’.

The newest discovery challenges the fairly straightforward idea of human evolution.The traditional narrative suggests that homo sapiens evolved from the ancient species of homo erectus in Africa and dispersed from there around 50,000 years ago. With the new finding, it becomes clear that the homo sapiens were definitely coexisting with other human species in other parts of the globe.

ancient human species, philippines, Homo luzonensis, luzon, homo sapiens, human evolution, philippines news, world news, Indian Express
Right upper teeth of an individual of the newly identified species Homo luzonensis, found in Callao Cave on Luzon Island. (Reuters)

The excavation yielded seven teeth, two hand bones, three foot bones and one thigh bone indicating the presence of two adults and one child. The fossils suggest that the species was less than 4 ft tall and possibly even shorter than yet another ancient species called Homo floresiensis, sometimes called the “hobbit”.

Interestingly, the excavations consist of a curved toe bone closely resembling the anatomy of the Australopithecus, which is known to have been existing in Africa about 2-3 million years ago. “these specimens display a combination of primitive and derived morphological features that is different from the combination of features found in other species in the genus Homo (including Homo floresiensis and Homo sapiens) and warrants their attribution to a new species,” notes the report on the discovery.

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It is also a mystery as to how the species reached Luzon island since it has never been connected to the mainland with a land bridge. Scientists involved in the research are now contemplating upon whether they arrived in the island by accident or if it was intentional.

Yet another crucial question that researchers are pondering over is what caused the demise of these earliest forms of human species.