(StraightNews.org) – A 300,000-year-old skull bone found in China could belong to an unknown human species. The fossilized jawbone was found in a cave in the Anhui province of eastern China, along with fragments of other remains dating back to the same period. Some of these are believed to have formed the skull of a 12 to 13-year-old child. Scientists have named the species “the Hualongdong people” in recognition of the cave where they were uncovered.
The findings were published in the Journal of Human Evolution, and Chinese paleoanthropologist Xiujie Wu has been piecing the fragments together since 2020. She reports that the bones are a mixture of archaic and modern. For example, the thick jawline corresponds with the early human species Homo Erectus, but it lacks a discernible chin, which is associated with the later human Homo sapiens.
Science is unclear on what kind of creatures inhabited that region and the recent discoveries have deepened that mystery further. Wu believes the remains could belong to a previously unknown ancestor or close relative of early Homo sapiens.
María Martinón-Torres, director of the National Research Center on Human Evolution in Spain, said, “Hualongdong are the earliest fossil population known in Asia to present this mosaic of primitive and Homo sapiens-like features.” She added that more fossils and investigations are required to “understand their precise position in the human family tree.”
The history of the human species is shrouded in mystery, and science has yet to figure out exactly where we came from. A discovery in 2021 leads investigators to believe that America is the last piece of land on Earth to be inhabited by humans.
Footprints located in New Mexico suggest that the first people arrived in North America around 23,000 years ago and are likely to have come from Asia via a bridge that once connected the two continents. The discovery informed paleontologists that humans were in America much earlier than they had initially believed.
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