Nearly 90 years ago in Harabin, China, workers discovered a curious skull while they were building a bridge over the Songhua River. To prevent the skull from falling into Japanese hands, it was wrapped and hidden in an abandoned well. In 2018 the man who hid it told his grandson before he died. Now the study of the skull has revealed not only a new species of human, but the one that seems to be the closest to the homo sapiens.

The analysis of the skull has been carried out by an international team of researchers led by Professor Qiang Ji at Hebei Geo University in China. It is an especially unique skull, because of the primitive characteristics mixed with characteristics more typical of modern humans. This has led researchers to determine that we are facing a new human species, the In a most or “dragon man” by the Chinese name.

According to research, the skull dates from at least 146,000 years old. It measures 23 centimeters long and more than 15 centimeters wide. It is something larger than the modern human skull and with an important volumetric space for the brain, of about 1,420 ml. His wide and bulbous nose also stands out, which allowed him to breathe huge volumes of air reflecting a lifestyle with high energy consumption according to the research.


A new lineage

To find out where to place this species on the evolutionary tree, the scientists put the skull data (characteristics, age, location…) into software that compiles the most viable family tree. This is done so that the computer automatically crosses all the data and obtains the results more quickly.

The skull from Harbin and a few more from other places in China were classified by software as a new branch in the evolutionary tree. This new branch, to the surprise of many, is also the closest to that of modern humans, even more so than Neanderthals.

Screenshot 2Screenshot 2

Artistic representation of homo longi.

The In a most thus marks the third later lineage that is separated from the nenderthals and the sapiens. However, there are researchers who prefer to be more cautious and not name a new lineage left and right. Recently (two years ago actually) we discovered the gay luzonensis.

This is the earliest (known) drawing made by our species, and is over 73,000 years old.

What this new skull certainly reveals is that the human evolutionary tree is much more complex and intermingled than a continuous line, we already have several proofs of it. Multiple species coexisted at the same time and, in one way or another, the homo sapiens it is the only one that has survived to this day.

Vía | NOW
More information | Cell 1, 2 and 3

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