The human family tree has just grown much larger with the addition of a newfound member. Dubbed as the Homo luzonensis – named after the site from which it was discovered on the largest Philippine island, Luzon. This recent discovery put yet another piece to the puzzle as we try to understand human evolution in Asia.
The Long Lost Cousin
According to the study published in the journal Nature, H. Luzonensis has lived in Luzon at least 50,000 to 67,000 years ago.
The hominin – a collective term used to call members of the early human species – displays physical features reminiscent to those found in ancient human ancestors and modern humans, the Homo sapiens.
The newly-discovered creature used stone tools similar to those of the other members of the Homo branch like the Neanderthals, the Denisovans, and H. floresiensis. This, in turn, indicates the possibility that H. luzonensis had lived in eastern Asia at around the same time the three aforementioned species existed.
However, scientists found no sign indicating a direct contact with the other species.
The cache of fossilized evidences includes seven pieces of teeth and six bones from the hands, thighs and feet. It is thought to have belonged to at least three members of the species.
The bones and teeth were unearthed from Callao Cave, a limestone cave located in Luzon, Philippines. Recovery and analysis of the remains happened between the years of 2007, 2011, and 2015.
The discovery was made by the combined efforts of local and international scientists and archaeologists , spearheaded by Armand Salvador Mijares, a professor from the University of the Philippines.
Prof. Mijares was credited back in 2007 for the discovery of the foot bone belonging to the so-called Callao Man, a report said. In an interview, Mijares said he had long thought of the Callao Man to be a member of an entirely new species, which now turned out to be the H. luzonensis.