New species of human found in Philippine cave
Bones and teeth unearthed in a Philippine cave have paved the way for the discovery of a new species of human.
PENABLANCA, PHILIPPINES — Ancient remains found in a cave in the Philippines have led to the discovery of a tiny hominin species previously unknown to science.
According to an article published in Nature, researchers excavating Callao Cave uncovered bones and teeth with a mix of ancient and modern features. The fragments came from three individuals of a previously unknown species now named Homo luzonensis, after the Philippine island of Luzon on which it was found.
The size of the bones suggest its owners may have only been about three feet tall, and possibly shorter than Homo Floresiensis, who inhabited the Indonesian island of Flores."
Both were alive and present in eastern Asia 50,000 years ago, at the same time as the Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans.
According to the New York Times, the tiny hominins on Luzon and Flores may be descended from Homo erectus.
Nature reports that the species is known to have moved from Africa to Southeast Asia, and could have shrunk as it adapted to life on the islands.
However, one toe bone discovered in the cave is curved, unlike that of a Homo erectus or Homo sapien. It is instead much more similar to that of the Australopithecus, which lived in Africa three million years ago and had curved toe bones that were good for climbing.
According to CNN, more excavations are needed to answer questions about the characteristics of Homo luzonensis and how they evolved.
But what's clear is that Southeast Asia was home to a much more diverse group of humans that first thought, so who knows what else archaeologists will find.
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