According to a series of research published Friday in the journal The Innovation, a species known as Homo Iongi, or “Dragon Man,” rather than Neanderthals, maybe the closest ancestors to modern humans.
A human skull which is more than 140,000 years old was found in Harbin city, China. According to researches, the discovery which was made in 1930 have the potential to change our perspective about human evolution.
One of the researches, Xijun Ni, stated, “It is mostly believed that the Neanderthal belongs to an extinct lineage that is the closest relative of human species.”
Ni, a professor of primatology and paleoanthropology said, “Our findings suggest that the new lineage we discovered, which includes Homo longi, is the true sister group of Homo sapiens. We have discovered our long long lost sister lineage.”
The Harbin skull, is the largest skull of all the three skulls of Homo sapiens presently occupied in the Geoscience Museum in Hebei GEO University.
The huge skull of the dragon man had enlarged, almost square eye sockets, strong brow ridges, a broad mouth, and oversized teeth, capable of supporting a brain comparable in size to modern humans.
Qiang Ji, another researcher said, While it has archaic human traits, the Harbin cranium has a mosaic of primitive and evolved characters that distinguishes it from all other Homo species already recognized.
Ji, professor of paleontology, said, “the Harbin skull fossil is one of the world’s most complete human cranium fossils. Many morphological characteristics were retained in this fossil, which is important for understanding the evolution of the Homo genus and the emergence of Homo sapiens.”
The cranium belonged to a 50-year-old man who lived in a woodland, floodplain setting as part of a small community.
According to Ni, Homo longi hunted mammals and birds, harvested fruits and vegetables, and possibly caught fish.
Homo longi may have adapted to hard and different environments, letting them disseminate throughout Asia, the size of the Harbin is very large and given the region where the skull was discovered.
The researchers used a variety of geochemical tests to determine that the Harbin fossil is at least 146,000 years old, putting it in the Middle Pleistocene.
According to the researchers, this indicates that Homo longi and Homo sapiens may have crossed paths during this time period.
The reconstruction of human evolution also implies that humans and Neanderthals shared a common ancestor even further back in time.
The period between Homo sapiens and the the Neanderthals may be more than which is believed to be.
If the theory is correct, Homo sapiens separated from Neanderthals around 400,000 years sooner than scientists previously assumed.
Co-author Chris Stringe stated, “During that time, we can identify multiple evolutionary lineages of Homo species and communities coexisting in Asia, Africa, and Europe.”
Stringer further said, “If Homo sapiens arrived in East Asia so early, they may have had the opportunity to engage with Homo longi, and because we don’t know when the Harbin group vanished, there may have been further meetings as well.”
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