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Science & Technology

New Human Ancestor Species Found

  • 12 Apr 2019
  • 2 min read

Scientists have identified a new human ancestor species previously unknown. It has been named as Homo luzonensis.

  • Homo luzonensis is classified as a separate species on the basis of 13 bones and teeth from two adults and one child found in a cave on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
  • Unlike Homo sapiens, whose premolar teeth generally have a single root, Homo luzonensis' premolars had two or three roots, similar to more primitive species such as Homo erectus, which lived in Africa and Asia between about 1.89 million and 143,000 years ago.
  • The Homo luzonensis were around 3-4ft tall and lived on the island of Luzon at least 50,000 to 67,000 years ago.
  • It is not a direct ancestor of modern day humans, but rather a distant ancient relative.

Significance

  • The fossils have an unexpected mix of both ancient and more advanced traits of hominin (the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors).
  • The teeth's small sizes and relatively simple shapes point to a more modern species. Foot bone resembles those of the ancient australopithecines.
  • The discovery also adds to a growing body of evidence that human evolution is not as linear as was once thought.
  • There are some questions which are unanswered such as how the species arrived on the island and who its ancestors were.

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