14,000-year-old Leg Bone Discovered May Belong to Ancient Human Species
The femur that was recently excavated in Southwest China resembles those of archaic species of humans that were thought to have been long perished by the Late Pleistocene, said the scientists. According to the scientists, the leg bone was compared to modern and ancient human femurs in a paper published in the Plos One journal on Thursday. The paper argued that the discovered specimen belongs to a population species of ancient humans that belonged to a much recent era. If their assessment is correct, it can drastically change the way we see human history.
For now, it is thought that Homo Sapiens, or the species that we belonged to were the only humans to have walked the earth. However, it may not have been the case. There were times when other ancient species like Neanderthals, H. Erectus, H. Habilis and Denisovans intersected with one another. There are also some that overlapped our species. There have been times when Denisovan genes have been found in modern humans found even today. Scientists believed that the only time there were more than one human specie to coexist was hundred thousand years ago. In fact, our closest cousins, Neanderthals, too perished 40,000 back. "Until now, it was thought that archaic humans on mainland Asia had survived no later than around 100,000 years ago," study author Darren Curnoe tells the Monitor in an email. "So, to find a human bone that resembles very ancient humans that is only around 14,000 years old is a real surprise," reported The Christian Science Monitor. "Now, it is only one bone, so we need to be a bit careful," Dr. Curnoe says. But if it does represent these ancient humans, "there must also have been overlap in time between archaic and modern humans for tens of thousands of years in Southwest China