|Manu||Date: Sunday, 27-June-2021, 9:32 PM | Message # 1|
Aerial view of the Nesher Ramla sinkhole. The site of Nesher Ramla during excavation. Yossi Zaidner
An international group of archaeologists have discovered a missing piece in the story of human evolution.
Excavations at the Israeli site of Nesher Ramla have recovered a skull that may represent a late-surviving example of a distinct Homo population, which lived in and around modern-day Israel from about 420,000 to 120,000 years ago.
Aerial view of the Nesher Ramla sinkhole.
As researchers Israel Hershkovitz, Yossi Zaidner and colleagues detail in two companion studies published today in Science, this archaic human community traded both their culture and genes with nearby Homo sapiens groups for many thousands of years.
The new fossils
Pieces of a skull, including a right parietal (towards the back/side of the skull) and an almost complete mandible (jaw) were dated to 140,000–120,000 years old, with analysis finding the person it belonged to wasn’t fully H. sapiens.
Nor were they Neanderthal, however, which was the only other type of human thought to have been living in the region at the time.
Instead, this individual falls right smack in the middle: a unique population of Homo never before recognised by science.
Through detailed comparison with many other fossil human skulls, the researchers found the parietal bone featured “archaic” traits that are substantially different from both early and recent H. sapiens. In addition, the bone is considerably thicker than those found in both Neanderthals and most early H. sapiens.
The jaw too displays archaic features, but also includes forms commonly seen in Neanderthals.
The bones together reveal a unique combination of archaic and Neanderthal features, distinct from both early H. sapiens and later Neanderthals.
Read more/full article/source - https://theconversation.com/homo-wh....-163084