Named Homo luzonensis, new species of humans was found in Luzon, the largest island of the Philippines.
Last 2007, researchers initially found a set of foot bones in Callao Caves, situated in the northern province of Cagayan. Further explorations in 2011 and 2015 resulted to another set of hand and foot bones, alongside some teeth and parts of femur. Analysis and carbon-dating identified the bones belong to that of 2-3 adults and 1 child, who lived some 50,000 – 67,000 years ago.
Distinctive Features of Luzonensis Differ from other Species
Although the new specie shared most of the characteristics of Homo sapiens, characteristics from the remains separated it from other human species at the time:
- The set of teeth featured a three-rooted premolar. Though the size of the teeth closely matches other human species existing at that time, the three-rooted feature is more primitive.
- The anatomy of the foot bones associated Homo luzonensis to the more primitive Australopithecus specie, believed to live in Africa two million years earlier.
- Curved fingers and toes suggested that climbing remained as the main activity of this human species, a characteristic also attributed to much earlier human species.
The Great Migration
Back in 2003, another human species – later called Homo floresiensis, and popularly referred to as Hobbits – was found in the Indonesian island of Flores. This species was smaller in frame and was believed to have lived around 100,000 to 60,000 years ago.
The presence of both Homo floresiensis and Homo luzonensis, both having more primitive features yet more modern in times of existence, suggested that the migration of much earlier human species might have reached the South East Asia region.
And with the region being surrounded by water, this migration might have just involved travel by the sea. Whether accidental or by intent, this remains the next mystery.