New hominin species announced


April 13, 2019

Announced in the April 10 edition of the journal Nature is a new species of genis Homo, named Homo luzonensis. The attribution is based on a small number of post cranial bones and seven teeth. The latter show both primitive and derived characteristics. The remains are dated to approximately 67,000 years ago by the Uranium thorium (UT) method. The authors find significant differences with contemporaneous homonin species, viz. the Denisovans, Neanderthals and especially another SE Asia hominem, Homo floresiensis

The succinct abstract reads: “A hominin third metatarsal discovered in 2007 in Callao Cave (Northern Luzon, the Philippines) and dated to 67 thousand years ago provided the earliest direct evidence of a human presence in the Philippines. Analysis of this foot bone suggested that it belonged to the genus Homo, but to which species was unclear. Here we report the discovery of twelve additional hominin elements that represent at least three individuals that were found in the same stratigraphic layer of Callao Cave as the previously discovered metatarsal. These specimens display a combination of primitive and derived morphological features that is different from the combination of features found in other species in the genus Homo (including Homo floresiensis and Homo sapiens) and warrants their attribution to a new species, which we name Homo luzonensis. The presence of another and previously unknown hominin species east of the Wallace Line during the Late Pleistocene epoch underscores the importance of island Southeast Asia in the evolution of the genus Homo.”

There  is additional reading to be found in the journal Nature: first, the full paper in the April 10 edition and further analysis in the same issue.