According to the Natural History Museum, ‘Dragon man’ has replaced Neanderthal as humanity’s closest relative.

29th June, 2021.      //   General Interest  // 

According to a startling new study, a newly found type of ancient human known as the “Dragon man” has overtaken Neanderthals as humanity’s closest relative.

Humans and Neanderthals were supposed to be evolutionary siblings who co-existed, mated, and most likely fought each other.

However, according to a new study, the Dragon man, technically known as Homo longi, is more closely connected to Homo sapiens than Neanderthals.

1624922367799blobDr. Xijun Ni, a professor of primatology and paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hebei GEO University, states, “It is commonly considered that the Neanderthal belongs to an extinct lineage that is the closest relative of our own species.”

“We discovered our long-lost sister bloodline.”

The skull revealed that the person was most likely a 50-year-old male with enormous, square eye sockets, a heavy brow, a broad jaw, and large teeth.

Dr. Qiang Ji, a professor of paleontology at Hebei GEO University, remarked, “The specimen is one of the most complete human skull fossils in the world.”

“While it has archaic human traits, the cranium has a mosaic of primitive and evolved characters that distinguishes it from all other Homo species previously identified.”

1624971885899blobOnly the man’s skull was discovered, with no more bones surviving. However, this gave the scientists enough information to figure out what he might have looked like. The size of his skull, and hence his brain, was the most significant discovery.

‘The Dragon man cranium is huge, showing either the largest or second largest values for many measurements in our comparative fossil database, and its brain volume at 1420 ml matches that of modern humans,’ said Professor Chris Stringer, co-author of the study and doyen of human evolution at the Natural History Museum in London.

“Like Homo sapiens, they hunted mammals and birds, harvested fruits and vegetables, and possibly caught fish,” Prof Ni added.

The extraordinarily well-preserved skull, which was discovered in 1933 but required modern examination to be precisely dated, is expected to be 146,000 years old.

This indicates that the Dragon Man lived during a phase in human evolution when several different human species coexisted and migrated throughout the globe.

According to the researchers, it’s entirely possible that the Dragon man species coexisted, met, and lived alongside ancient Homo sapiens.

The new species was given the moniker Dragon man after the location where the skull was recovered. In the 1930s, construction workers in Harbin City were said to have discovered it while building a bridge across the Songhua River.

Harbin is located in Heilongjiang Province, sometimes referred to as Long Jiang. Dragon river is the English version, and the term was used to name the new hominid.

The findings have ramifications for the postulated human evolution chronology. According to current beliefs, contemporary humans and Neanderthals shared a single ancestor who split into two lineages roughly 600,000 years ago.

Around 200,000 years later, the non-human lineage split again, producing Neanderthals and Denisovans, the two most famous ancient human relatives with whom Homo sapiens is known to have mated.

However, while Homo sapiens flourished and colonized the globe, Denisovans and Neanderthals became extinct around 30,000 and 40,000 years ago, respectively.

The human lineage and the Neanderthal/Denisovan lineage may have separated far earlier, more than a million years ago, according to a new study published in the journal The Innovation on Friday.

The finding of a previously undiscovered Neanderthal ancestor in the Levant this week muddled the timeline of human evolution even more.

The skull belongs to a person who was most likely one of the last remaining members of an ancient species, according to Israeli researchers. They lived roughly 130,000 years ago, but their species had most likely existed for more 100,000 years by that time.

Researchers believe that Neanderthals descended from this species, and that they coexisted before the newly discovered species, known as Nesher Ramla Homo, became extinct.

In a report published in Science on Thursday, scientists hypothesize that humans may have mated with this species. They believe this explains the existence of Neanderthal DNA, which predates the first contact between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.