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Two puzzles 140,000 years old | science | news | the sun

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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DrOn one side, skull fragments were found at the site of Nesher Ramle (Israel), which have “neanderthal traits”, but are more “archaic” than those of their European cousins. Since there was no Homo sapiens in the area at that time, moreover, other unidentified fossils dating back 400,000 years have been discovered in recent years, their discoverers concluding that the people who lived there preceded and gave birth to Neanderthals. From Europe.

On the other side is a well-preserved skull, discovered in China in 1933 by a farmer who allegedly hid it in a well to avoid the Japanese occupying army. He would be a 50-year-old man. It also had features that take it away from Neanderthals – wide and prominent brow arches, low cheekbones, and unusual size, making it the largest skull of the human race. Distinctive characteristics are enough to classify it as a new species, called Homo longi (Dragon Man), named after the nearby Dragon River. Three teams dedicate their studies to it, which was featured in the open access journal June 25 innovation And even going so far as to “classify” him closer to Homo sapiens than to Neanderthals.

However, these two findings sparked controversy among experts. If there was a time when the shape of the skeleton was the only thing we had to try to locate in our family tree, we’re no longer there today, the review recalls. natureDNA fragments can be recovered from bones over 100,000 years old. It would be more controversial if a skull had been removed from its original location, thus preventing it from being able to date that location.

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Certainly, many other fossils of this period have been discovered in China over the years, and have contributed to the picture that is beginning to emerge: Neanderthals’ ancestors had arrived in Europe from the Middle East while their walking cousins ​​were. The East formed the branch that would be called Denisovans. In fact, many experts note, nothing prevents them from believing that the Chinese find could be a Denisovan, since one of these, in addition to genetic sequences, was found only three teeth and two fragments of bone: one in other words, he had no idea they looked Such as.

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