Over the past two million years many different species of human beings like us have lived on this earth. It is evident that modern humans and other human species coexisted in Asia and Europe even about 40,000 years ago.
We, the Homo sapiens, are the remnants of the homologous evolution of our Hominin (the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors) over 20 million years ago. Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Neanderthals are our immediate ancestors. As of now, Neanderthals are the one we are closest to. But researchers say they have discovered a new species that is more closely related to the human family than Neanderthals.
According to researchers, there was a skull found near the city of Harbin in Heilongjiang province in northeast China by Chinese labourers in 1933 during the Japanese occupation and was hidden in an abandoned well to avoid being caught by the Japanese. It was reclaimed in 2018 after the person who concealed the skull revealed the secret to his grandson a few days before he died. Researchers have now classified this fossil skull which has thick eyebrows, large teeth, and square-shaped eye sockets. Research on this has been carried out by a team of Chinese, Australian and British researchers and papers have beenpublished.
The skull, now known by Chinese researchers as “Homo longi” or “Dragon Man”, has been researched by geochemical techniques and it is said that the bones must be at least 1,46,000 years old. The researchers said that this skull had a unique combination of ancient and modern features that matches our facial features.
About 9 inches long and more than 6 inches wide, this skull is said to be large enough to hold the brain of a modern human. Research has suggested that it may be the skull of a man about 50 years old. His wide nose, which allows him to breathe large amounts of air, indicates a high-energy lifestyle and his large physique may have helped him cope with the harsh winter, researchers say.
Xijun Ni, a professor of primatology and paleoanthropology and researcher who conducted the study, said , ” However, our discovery suggests that this new lineage, called Homo laogi, is the true brotherhood of the Homo sapiens. Their height is difficult to estimate, but with their large heads they must have been taller than the average modern man. ”
To understand where the skull of this individual fits in human history, scientists have compiled the fossil and 95 skulls of other Chinese people with the help of software . In the final analysis this skull has created a new branch closer to modern humans than the Neanderthals.
Chinese researchers believe there is enough data to announce this as a new species. But Chris Stringer, another author of these research articles, refuses to accept this. He believes it resembles a skull found in 1978 in Dali County, China. “I like to call this homo daliensis , but it’s not a big deal,” he said.