Saturday, July 17, 2021

New Type of Early Human

 From RTE:

The fossils date to between 140,000 and 120,000 years ago, and the team believes the Nesher Ramla type would have overlapped with Homo sapiens, the lineage of modern humans.

"We had never imagined that alongside Homo sapiens, archaic Homo roamed the area so late in human history," lead archaeologist Yossi Zaidner said.

"The morphology of the Nesher Ramla humans shares features with both Neanderthals... and archaic Homo," the researchers said in a statement.

"At the same time, this type of Homo is very unlike modern humans -- displaying a completely different skull structure, no chin and very large teeth."

Along with the human remains, the dig uncovered large quantities of animal bones as well as stone tools.

"The archaeological finds associated with human fossils show that 'Nesher Ramla Homo' possessed advanced stone-tool production technologies and most likely interacted with the local Homo sapiens," Mr Zaidner said.

The researchers suggested that some fossils previously discovered in Israel dating back as far as 400,000 years could belong to the same prehistoric human type.

Dentist and anthropologist Rachel Sarig of Tel Aviv University said that previously researchers had tried to ascribe the older bones to known human groups like Homo sapiens or Neanderthals.

"But now we say: No. This is a group in itself, with distinct features and characteristics," she said.

The Israeli researchers make the still controversial claim that the discovery of a new archaic Homo group in the Middle East challenges accepted ideas that Neanderthals originated in Europe.

"Before these new findings, most researchers believed the Neanderthals to be a 'European story', in which small groups of Neanderthals were forced to migrate southwards to escape the spreading glaciers," Tel Aviv University's Israel Hershkovitz said. (Read more.)


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