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Palaeontology

Mystery surrounds ancient skulls in China

By T.K. Randall
March 4, 2017 · Comment icon 15 comments

Could the skulls be evidence of the Denisovans ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Tim Evanson
Two partial human skulls unearthed in central China could belong to an unknown archaic human species.
The skulls, which date back between 105,000 and 125,000 years, appear to contain a mixture of Neanderthal and modern human features, suggesting that they may belong to an as-yet unknown species of human - a possible missing link in the human family tree in east Asia.

There is also a chance that the skulls could be evidence of the Denisovans - another human ancestor that lived sometime between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago.

"It is a very exciting discovery," said Neanderthal expert Katerina Harvati. "Especially because the human fossil record from east Asia has been not only fragmentary but also difficult to date."
Finds like these are particularly rare, which is why there are still so many gaps in our knowledge of how our ancestors, after emerging from Africa, went on to spread across the globe.

There are also several species of early human that we currently know nothing about at all.

"China is rewriting the story of human evolution," said paleoanthropologist Maria Martinon-Torres from the University College London. "I find this tremendously exciting!"

Source: Science Alert | Comments (15)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Captain Risky 7 years ago
...an artist impression would have been nice.
Comment icon #7 Posted by oldrover 7 years ago
I thought that.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Eldorado 7 years ago
Do a google image search.  Big critters they were. Number 6 left to right.  
Comment icon #9 Posted by PersonFromPorlock 7 years ago
That's what it says, but #6 is h. heidelbergensis  in the other copies of that image.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Eldorado 7 years ago
I hear ya!  Can't trust anyone these days.  Grrrr.  lol Check out these ones... http://fritz-aviewfromthebeach.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/denisovans-in-paradise.html
Comment icon #11 Posted by jmccr8 7 years ago
Hi Eldorado,  At this time the samples that have been found have been in the Altai mountains in Southern Siberia, Spain and Asia if I recall, although their genetic imprint has spanned over vast distances due to interactions with Hss. The information gained through dna from a finger fragment found at the Altai site let us know that she had dark eyes,hair and skin tone. Until there is a find with more complete skeletal remains found it will remain a mystery as to their size and characteristics, and of course with one complete skeleton it would still not be known just how representative that ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Eldorado 7 years ago
Good man.  Thank you!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Captain Risky 7 years ago
Damn, those denisovan women were hot... 
Comment icon #14 Posted by coolguy 7 years ago
What an awesome find
Comment icon #15 Posted by Gingitsune 7 years ago
All we have from Denisovan is a finger bone and a tooth. They seem too be big, compare to Sapiens and Neandertal's, but maybe they just had big teeth and fingers, for all we know. They didn't know it wasn't Neandertal until they sequenced the DNA from it. So we are hoping to find, one day, some more bones.


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