Philippines cave yields mysterious new human ancestor: Homo luzonensis

homo luzonensis remains philippines
Archeologist shows a 67,000 year old Metatarsal fossil bone, one of the oldest they recovered from Callao Cave belonging to a new species called Homo Luzonensis. Image: AP/Aaron Favila

Ancient bones and teeth found in Callao Cave in the Philippines have led to the discovery of a previously unknown species related to humans called Homo luzonensis, according to a new study. The fossils belonged to two adults and one child who lived between 50,000 and 67,000 years ago.

This time frame means luzonensis would have lived at the same time as Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo sapiens and the small-bodied Homo floresiensis,

But what makes luzonensis different from other species? It’s all in the distinct premolar teeth, which vary considerably from anything identified in the other species belonging to the Homo genus.

Although some of the characteristics can be compared to Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, the teeth and jaw features remain distinct as far as the odd features they combine.

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This factor, along with the fact that the researchers haven’t been able to remove DNA from the fossils, makes it difficult to determine where luzonensis fits, evolution-wise.

Given that Africa is regarded as the “Cradle of Life” and Homo erectus was found on the Indonesian island of Java, the idea is that erectus migrated out of Africa and helped disperse the species.

Read full, original post: A mysterious species related to humans has been discovered

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