Scientists have found a new species of ancient human. The researchers found 13 bones that date back to about 67,000 years ago. The bones came from at least three individual people, and the species is being called Homo luzonensis. Modern-day humans are called Homo sapiens.
The fossils were found in Callao Cave on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. Aside from the fact that a new species has been discovered, scientists are surprised that ancient people somehow made it onto islands. It was thought humans didn’t have seafaring skills at that time. Researchers first realized this could be possible in 2004 when they found another human species, Homo floresiensis, on the island of Flores in Indonesia.
The size of the bones are also interesting because they are very small, which suggests the people were short of stature (size). Professor Philip Piper from the Australian National University said the teeth were really small and that “[t]he size of the teeth generally – though not always – reflect the overall body-size of a mammal, so we think Homo luzonensis was probably relatively small too.” The Homo floresiensis, which are sometimes called “hobbits” or “dwarves,” were also very small.
Many researchers think that ancient humans didn’t have the skills to build boats and cross seas, so how did these species manage to get to islands? Some suggest it was by accident, that a storm caught people on the coast by surprise and swept them out to sea.
The two newest discoveries of human species have raised many questions. How did they get there? Were the ancient humans on Flores and Luzon related somehow? Although we don’t know yet, new studies and discoveries may soon give us the answers.