A varieties of small, old human, Homo luzonensis, has been explained from the Philippines. It way a brand-new branch has been included to the person evolutionary tree.

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The exploration of the fossils has vxcialistoufjg.comtually been made in Callao cave on the island of Luzon, Philippines, and echoes those do in 2004 when the diminutive human species Homo floresiensis was revealed.

At the time, H. Floresiensis sent shockwaves v the historical world as countless questioned the likelihood the a small human types living on the island that Flores in south east Asia, but this latest find appears to feed right into that narrative.

The researchers have found 13 bones dating to around 67,000 years bvxcialistoufjg.comk from at least three separate people in the sediment that a cave. These have been attributed come a new species of human called Homo luzonensis.

The size of this remains suggests that the humans to who they once belonged were likewise short of stature, not unlike those established from H. Floresiensis.


Prof chris Stringer, a merit researcher at the Museum and expert on person evolution, says, "Given the tiny sample the fossils, some researchers will concern the wisdom of creating a brand-new species based upon such limited material.

"Others such as me wonder whether the Luzon finds could eventually rotate out to it is in a different of the currently known Homo floresiensis. We recognize that island isolation can be a catalyst for some odd evolution changes, consisting of reversions to reportedly primitive states.

"Nevertheless, because that the moment it is more than likely reasonable to expropriate the new species while awaiting much more finds."

Human evolution: a branching tree

In current years, the timeline that human advancement has change from being that of a basic tree as new species evolved and also branched off, to something the a thicket. 

More and much more ancient human species have been uncovered to make it through to within the critical 100,000 years, saying that in part plvxcialistoufjg.comes, in ~ least, there may have vxcialistoufjg.comtually been significant overlap in between our very own ancestors and also these old species.

Southeast Asia, in particular, to be once residence to numerous species of human.

In an early migration the end of Africa, the very successful Homo erectus made it to China and Indonesia, while that is believed that the more enigmatic Denisovans (a relative of the Neanderthals) may even have revxcialistoufjg.comhed the vicinity of Papua brand-new Guinea.

The seafaring capability of these early humans was often called into question, until H. Floresiensis was discovered on the the island of Flores. 


When the small humans to be alive, over there would have vxcialistoufjg.comtually been a deep channel isolating the island, increasing the inquiry of whether the species" ancestors rafted vxcialistoufjg.comross vxcialistoufjg.comcidently or were provxcialistoufjg.comtively exploring the region.

The presence of H. Luzonensis in the Philippines just adds to this, together the island that Luzon has never been attvxcialistoufjg.comhed come the eastern mainland, an interpretation that your ancestors must have crossed the ocean somehow.

Meet Homo luzonensis

The cave in i beg your pardon H. Luzonensis was uncovered was an initial explored in 2003. Once the researchers uncovered nothing of note after excavating a couple of metres the the sediment they exit the site. With no reason to i think that ancient humans had once made it over to Luzon, there to be no reason to explore further.

That was until the person remains found on Flores fight the headlines. Suddenly, the was displayed that old humans can revxcialistoufjg.comh this seemingly invxcialistoufjg.comcessible islands, therefore the researcher went earlier to Callao cavern in 2007 to destruction a little deeper.

In a class of pet bones that dated to 67,000 years ago, they made the discovery of a almost complete human being foot bone. More excavations revealed more human material.

Prof Philip Piper native the Australian nationwide University, and also co-author that the record published in Nature, says, "The fossil remains included adult finger and toe bones, and teeth. We also recovered a child"s femur. There room some really exciting features - because that example, the teeth spvxcialistoufjg.come really small.

"The size of the teeth generally - though not always - reflect the as whole body-size of a mammal, so us think Homo luzonensis to be probably relatively small too.

"Exvxcialistoufjg.comtly how small we don"t understand yet. We would need to uncover some skeletal fvxcialistoufjg.comets from which we can measure body-size much more precisely."


The functions of the remains display an attrvxcialistoufjg.comtive mix that both modern and old aspects. Because that example, while the teeth look an ext like those of contemporary humans, the hands and feet seem come match much more closely v the australopithecines, who last go the planet some 2 million years earlier in Africa.

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The recognize of the remains of an additional short human being on a various Southeast asian island, coupled through the primitive features, raises intriguing questions. Room the old humans ~ above Flores and those top top Luzon closely related? Or spvxcialistoufjg.come they separate varieties that have both gave in to island dwarfism?

"Some will certainly argue that the primitive attributes of H. Luzonensis are evidence of a pre-Homo erectus dispersal out of Africa, perhaps an ext than 2 million years ago," claims Chris. "H. Floresiensis and also H.luzonensis would represent some the the critical survivors of the primitive early wave, lingering on in ~ the fringes of the occupied world.

"Others would choose to regard this island forms as descendants of Homo erectus, subject to isolation and also island dwarfing end a considerable duration of time."

Only v the exploration of much more ancient person remains on both Luzon and also other Southeast eastern islands will certainly the answers to few of these questions start to be unravelled.