An international research team has analyzed an ancient skull found in 1933 in China, which has characteristics similar to those of humans . From the first analyzes, the find appears to belong to an extinct human species, that of Homo Longi, which could replace Neanderthals as the closest relatives of modern humans.
Homo Longi: the new human species that could “keep us away” from Neanderthals?
From the analysis of the fossil record of the new species, called Homo Longi, which can be translated as “dragon man” (due to the Chinese province of Heilongjiang in which it was found), the age and sex of the existing specimen was estimated, which it would have been a male of about 50 years, dating, according to dating, 146,000 years ago.
Through this new discovery, a genealogical tree of the human species has been built that frames the results of the latest analyzes , revealing the correlations between the different human groups that have occurred in human evolution. Recent DNA analysis methodologies , in combination with the morphological and geographical parameters of the remains, have allowed us to highlight the characteristics of previous humans, leading us to better understand the relationship with Neanderthals (whose causes of extinction could be in their blood).
The new genealogical tree, prepared by the study group, was based on data from dozens of fossil specimens of human species, including Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo sapiens and some unidentified remains that, thanks to the new analysis, it is possible to know and that they are attributed to Homo Longi.
Neanderthals are known to be the closest relatives of Homo sapiens and many of the discoveries about human evolution stemmed from comparisons with this species, but these recent investigations could undermine Neanderthals from their “privileged position” in the human phylogenetic branch to be replaced by the new human species of Homo Longi.
Some surprising things about the study concern the dating at the base of the phylogenetic model, which would not correspond to the dates of the fossils found. The study, in fact, suggests that Homo sapiens existed in Eurasia 400,000 years ago, but the oldest current finds , beyond the African continent, date back about half. Another dissonant point would be the time of the division between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals , which would not be confirmed by DNA analysis.
In light of this, it still seems premature to definitively accept these estimates of divergence, opting for more in-depth studies based on more precise molecular analysis techniques . What emerges is the great variety of human species that occurred during evolution and that the Asian continent, given the large number of findings it contains, could be a prosperous place to analyze and where to focus future research efforts.