An unknown hominid discovered in China

A team of researchers announces the discovery in China of remains of ancient skulls which could belong to an unknown archaic human species, probably a direct ancestor of modern Chinese.

The evolution of the human race is like a thicket. Some lineages are dead ends when others coexist at the same time, but evolve independently, in parallel and without interfertilization. Tracing each lineage is therefore an arduous task which relies only on the few fossils found here and there. But fossils, we continue to find them! Recent excavations conducted near the city of Xuchang, Henan Province and detailed in the journal Science recently revealed the presence of 105,000 to 125,000 year old skulls that may fill in some of the missing pieces of the evolution of mankind in East Asia.

The skulls found have features in common with those of hominids who inhabited prehistoric times in central and northern China whose fossils had already been discovered. However, these skulls nevertheless have specific features that allow them to be classified separately.  » This is a completely new species “says archaeologist Li Zhanyang of the Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeological Research of Henan. According to him, the temporal bone and the cranial vault prove that it is indeed an intermediate species which would have lived between the Sinanthropus (700,000 to 230,000 years before our era) and the first Homo sapiens (40,000 before our era). Our era).

 » This is the first time that fossils have been discovered that have features specific to Neanderthal bones. in East Asia (…). It is very likely that they are the direct ancestors of modern Chinese “, emphasizes the researcher. It’s a little early to speculate at this time, but with the human fossil record extremely fragmented in East Asia, the discovery is still very exciting. No DNA could yet be extracted from the samples found, so any further identification is currently impossible, but further excavations at the site could provide more clues.


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