Researchers have found a skull in northeastern China more than 140,000 years old that is almost intact. They say the skull represents a new species of primitive man, with which it bears more resemblance to modern humans than Neanderthals.
Last Friday, researchers announced that the new discovery could change the way we think about human evolution, according to a report by the AFP news agency. His mouth was wide but it was very flat. Due to its deep eyes, forehead and low cheekbones, it has more in common with modern people.
The research team linked the new specimen to other fossils found in China. They call this species ‘Homo Longi’ or ‘Dragonman’. The area where the skull was found is named after him. The skull named Harbin was first found in 1933. But it was hidden in a well for 65 years to protect it from the Japanese army. It was later excavated and handed over to Hebei GEO University researcher Ji Qiang in 2016.
Chris Stinger, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, who co-authored the study, said: “Our analysis shows that homosapians have more relationship with the Harbin group than with Neanderthals. That’s why dragons can be considered our modern ancestral species. ‘
Three research articles have been published in The Innovation Magazine.
The skull found is 1 lakh 48 thousand years old. It dates back to the Middle Pleistocene. The name is derived from Long Jiang, which literally means Dragon River. Dragonmen probably lived in small groups in floodplain environments. They were basically hunters. They were more winter tolerant than Neanderthals.The strange skull appeared soon after the Japanese invaded northeast China in the early 1930s. A team of locals was raising a bridge near Harbin, a city in China’s northernmost province, when one of the workers stumbled on a surprise in the river mud. The nearly complete human skull had an elongated cranium from which a heavy brow bone protruded, shading the gaping squares that once housed eyes.
And then there was the skull’s unusual size: “It’s enormous,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum.
Perhaps aware of the magnitude of the find, the man secreted the skull away in an abandoned well. Now, nearly 90 years later, a study published in the journal The Innovation makes the case that this skull represents a new human species: Homo longi, or the Dragon Man.
Two additional studies reveal that the stunningly preserved cranium likely came from a male that died at least 146,000 years ago. Its mashup of both ancient and more modern anatomical features hints at a unique placement on the human family tree
“I’ve held a lot of other human skulls and fossils, but never like this,” says paleoanthropologist Xijun Ni of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who is an author of all three studies.
Based on the shape and size of the Harbin skull, as it’s often called, and comparison to other known fossils, the researchers posit that it’s closely related to several other perplexing human fossils, from this same time period, that have been found across Asia. The researchers’ analysis suggests all these fossils belong to a group that is closely related to our own species—perhaps even more so than the Neanderthals.