Archaic human fossil dates back 14,000 years
By T.K. Randall
December 18, 2015 · 14 comments
Did an archaic human species survive until 14,000 years ago ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Lillyundfreya
Scientists have found evidence that a prehistoric species of human was still alive relatively recently.
The mysterious femur bone unearthed in southwest China might not seem like much, but according to paleontologists the discovery has the potential to rewrite what we know of human history.
Thought to belong to a species of human that disappeared over 100,000 years ago, the bone appears to date back only 14,000 years to a time when even the Neanderthals had gone extinct.
The find has left experts scratching their heads as there is no other evidence to suggest that modern humans had co-existed with an archaic human species so recently.
"Until now, it was thought that archaic humans on mainland Asia had survived no later than around 100,000 years ago," said study author Darren Curnoe. "So, to find a human bone that resembles very ancient humans that is only around 14,000 years old is a real surprise."
The discovery is so peculiar in fact that many scientists believe that it isn't quite what it seems.
"To me, it's just a Late Pleistocene, Early Holocene population that just looks a little bit different, that really doesn't have anything especially archaic about it," said paleoanthropologist David Begun.
"I certainly don't buy the argument that it is some kind of holdover from an Early Pleistocene, early Homo lineage, pre-Neanderthal or something like that. I'm not convinced by the evidence at all."
Source: Christian Science Monitor
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