Scientists say ‘Dragon Man’ human species may be our closest ancestor

Meet “Dragon Man,” a member of a newly-discovered species of human who might be our closest ancestor.

Scientists introduced Friday {that a} mammoth fossilized cranium — found on the backside of a nicely in northeastern China in 2018 — might be extra intently associated to fashionable people than Neanderthals, Agence France-Presse reported.

The so-called Harbin cranium was reportedly first found within the Nineteen Thirties within the Chinese metropolis of the identical title in Heilongjiang province — however was then hidden for about 85 years to guard it from the Japanese military.

It was later dug up and handed over in 2018 to Ji Qiang, a professor at Hebei GEO University.

On Friday, scientists made the thrilling announcement in a brand new examine that the well-preserved skull belonged to a beforehand unknown species of historical human who lived in East Asia at the least 146,000 years in the past.

“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,” co-author Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, London instructed AFP.

Scientists have illustrated of a portrait of Dragon Man.
Scientists have illustrated of a portrait of Dragon Man.
CHUANG ZHAO/EUREKALERT!/AFP through Getty Images

“If these are regarded as distinct species, then this is our sister (most closely related) species,” Stringer added.

The scientists named the brand new hominin Homo longi, which is derived from Heilongjiang, or Black Dragon River, the province the place the cranium was discovered – and in addition dubbed the traditional forebear “Dragon Man.”

His cranium dates again at the least 146,000 years, putting it within the Middle Pleistocene, although it might be as previous as 309,000 years, in line with geochemical evaluation, according to CNN and AFP.

Scientists announced that a skull discovered in Northeast China represents a newly discovered human species they have named Homo longi or "Dragon Man."
Scientists introduced {that a} cranium found in Northeast China represents a newly found human species they’ve named Homo longi or “Dragon Man.”
CHUANG ZHAO/EUREKALERT!/AFP through Getty Images

The skull — which is believed to have belonged to a male round 50 years previous — might maintain a mind comparable in measurement to that of recent people however with bigger eye sockets, thick forehead ridges, a large mouth and outsized enamel.

“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,” stated Ji, a co-author of the examine.

The findings have been revealed within the journal The Innovation.

 “This population would have been hunter-gatherers, living off the land,” Stringer instructed AFP. “From the winter temperatures in Harbin today, it looks like they were coping with even harsher cold than the Neanderthals.”

The researchers first studied the exterior morphology of the cranium utilizing over 600 traits, after which ran thousands and thousands of simulations utilizing a pc mannequin that examined the connection to different fossils.

“These suggest that Harbin and some other fossils from China form a third lineage of later humans alongside the Neanderthals and H. sapiens,” Stringer defined.

Scientists say that the "Dragon Man" may replace Neanderthals as our closest relatives.
Scientists say that the Dragon Man may change Neanderthals as our closest relations.
KAI GENG/EUREKALERT!/AFP through Getty Images

If Homo sapiens had reached East Asia on the time Homo longi was roamed the Earth, they may have interbred — although this stays uclear.

There are also additionally many answered questions on their tradition and know-how stage however the discovering might nonetheless reshape our understanding of human evolution.

“It establishes a third human lineage in East Asia with its own evolutionary history and shows how important the region was for human evolution,” Stringer famous.

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