Scientists announced on Friday that a skull found in Northeast China represents a newly discovered human species, which they call Homo Longi, or “Dragon man”, and said that this bloodline should replace Neanderthals as our Close relatives. The Harbin skull was discovered in the city of the same name in Heilongjiang Province in the 1930s, but it was reported to have been hidden in a well for 85 years to protect it from Japanese attacks.
Chris Stringer, a co-author from the Natural History Museum in London, told AFP that “On our analyses, the Harbin group is more closely linked to H. sapiens than the Neanderthals are — that is, Harbin shared a more recent common ancestor with us than the Neanderthals did”.
The results of the research are published in three articles in the magazine “Innovation”. Skull dates to at least 146,000 years ago and is found in the Middle Pleistocene.
It may contain a brain equivalent to that of modern people, but has larger eye sockets, thick eyebrows, wide mouths, and oversized teeth.
“While it shows typical archaic human features, the Harbin cranium presents a mosaic combination of primitive and derived characters setting itself apart from all the other previously named Homo species,” said Ji, a co-author of the study.
The name comes from Longjiang, which literally means “Longhe”. The
team believes that the skull belongs to a man in his 50s who lives in a wooded floodplain.
“This population would have been hunter-gatherers, living off the land,” said Stringer. “From the winter temperatures in Harbin today, it looks like they were coping with even harsher cold than the Neanderthals.”
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