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'Dragon Man' discovered in China represents new type of human species: Scientists

A massive fossilized skull was discovered by researchers in China's Dragon River region. Scientists now claim that this skull is actually the new species of ancient human.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk Washington Published on: June 26, 2021 10:53 IST
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Image Source : AP/REPRESENTATIVE

A massive fossilized skull was discovered by researchers in China's Dragon River region. Scientists now claim that this skull is actually the new species of ancient human.

A massive fossilized skull was discovered by researchers in China's Dragon River region. Scientists now claim that this skull is actually the new species of ancient humans. So far, the human race has categorically recognized three species including the existing human race or homo sapiens. This new development adds another type of species to the list. 

The discovered skull is at least 140,000 years old. It belonged to a mature male who had a huge brain, massive brow ridges, deep set eyes and a bulbous nose. The skull had remained hidden in an abandoned well for 85 years, after a labourer came across it at a construction site in China. The scientists analyzed the chemical composition of the fossil, and determined it was at least 146,000 years old, but no older than 309,000 years.

The researchers named the new species Homo longi and gave it the nickname “Dragon Man,” for the Dragon River region of northeast China where the skull was discovered. 

Making it more interesting, researchers now claim that this species was the extinct human species mostly closely related to our own. This debunks the existing theory that Neanderthals were most closely related to homo sapiens. If confirmed, that could significantly change our view of how — and even where — our species, Homo sapiens, evolved. A number of experts questioned this conclusion, published in three papers. But many still thought the find could help scientists reconstruct the human family tree.

The researchers argue that Dragon Man’s anatomical features are found in no previously named species of hominin, the lineage of bipedal apes that diverged from other African apes and later became a series of larger-brained species that fanned out across the planet.

“It’s distinctive enough to be a different species,” said Christopher Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London and co-author of two of the three Dragon Man papers. 

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