A completely new species of ancient humans known as Homo longi, or Dragon Man, is changing our perception of human evolution. Researchers recently made a revelation in their three separate papers, such as the journal, The Innovation.
They proved that Homo longi could replace the Neanderthals as human beings’ closest relative Homo sapiens. The discovery of the new species is linked to the skull, also popular as Harbin cranium. It is a fossil that archeologists found years ago, but has been recently studied in greater detail.
Same But Different Species
The belief was that Neanderthal was part of the extinct lineage closely associated with Homo Sapiens. Xijun Ni, a professor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hebei GEO University, made interesting observations.
He asserted that the discovery suggests that the Homo Longi is the sister group of Homo sapiens. Even the Harbin Cranium has features resembling Homo Sapiens. The face has flat, low cheekbones with a shallow canine fossa tucked under the braincase.
The Meaning of the Dragon Man
The name “Dragon Man” has been derived from the name Long Jiang and was usually used in the Heilongjiang province, and the literal meaning of the same is Dragon River. These were the findings from a study by the international team and conducted by Qiang Ji, Hebei Geo University in China.
All About a Huge Skull
The huge skull is 9 inches long. And the six inches wide skull can hold a brain that is as close to the size of the human brain as possible, almost 3 pounds in brain volume. Researchers think it belongs to a male whose aged around 50 years of age.
However, nobody got the exact information about the exact site because it was difficult to unravel the confusing history. Some Chinese laborers discovered the cranium around 1933 when a bridge was built over the Songhua River in Harbin City, in China’s Heilongjiang province. This was during the period of Japanese occupation.
To prevent it from getting into the hands of the Japanese, the discoverer of the skull hid it in an abandoned well. However, it again resurfaced in 2018, when the man who hid it told his grandson about it before passing away.
A Sister Lineage to Homo Sapiens
Researchers describe the old archaic human cranium from northeastern China as belonging to the sister lineage for Homo sapiens.
Although most of the research describes the team as a new species, in a different interview. The researchers also believed that the skull resembled another fossil belonging to Homo daliensis, also regarded as an ancient human. The morphology of the fossil says a lot about the later human evolution.
This was an accidental discovery by the scientists after going through the various pieces of fossilized bone that they dig up at a site.
For a better understanding of the history of the Dragon Man, the scientists entered the measurements from the fossil. They found as many as 95 other skulls into software made into a family tree of sorts.
This revealed that this skull and others from China had made a branch closer to modern humans than the Neanderthals.
The Opinion of Researchers From Different Parts of the World
However, most other researchers around the world do not feel the same. Professor John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believes that the idea coming from a new breed of humans was not quite accurate. This is because the skulls can look similar when compared to the distant relatives of individuals.
Professor Hawks went on to say that the description is not quite accurate. It is not right to name any new species among these large-brained humans that can all interbreed from each other. We mean that although there has been a difference in looks, it does not mean much to these ancient people when compared to breeding.
We are sure there is much more to know about this interesting puzzle piece. And with time, we will learn more about its intriguing backstory. Are you as curious as we are to know how this discovery changes the course of mankind and what we know about the species? Watch this space for more as we will update new information as it unfolds!