Is the ‘Dragon Man’ Skull Actually a New Human Ancestor?
A groundbreaking, recent discovery of a huge fossilized skull in China has archeologists embroiled in heated debate. Is this extraordinary finding evidence of a new human species?
Over the last several decades, the view of human evolution during the past half-million years has become ever more complicated with regular additions to the list of human species that lived during the Pleistocene period. Working out the relationship between these populations of early humans and how they relate to modern humans has proven difficult and, at times, contentious.
The new finding in China is one of the more recent additions to the growing debate.
Andrew Collins is an ancient history researcher who has been closely following these discoveries. “An incredible discovery has been made in China,” Collins said. “And this is of a fairly massive human skull. It’s around 140,000 years old. The first thing they’ve noticed is that it’s got features that are in common with Homo sapiens, but also archaic humans.”
Human 'Hobbit' Ancestor May Still Be Alive in Indonesian Jungles
Could an ancient human species still be alive deep in the forests of Indonesia? An award-winning anthropologist thinks that might be the case.
On the Indonesian island of Flores, some locals tell tales of an animal that is like a human but is not human. Some say they are extinct, others claim to have seen them with their own eyes. Anthropologist Gregory Forth, who lived with and studied the people of the island for decades, calls this creature the “Apeman.”
For years it was an interesting story, but as many anthropologists will tell you, stories like this are often allegory or a way to explain the natural world. But in 2004, the anthropological world was shaken when the “hobbit” skeleton was found. This was a tiny species of hominin. A rebuilt skeleton stands at just 3’7,” but apparently lived at the same time as early modern humans.
The tale of the relationship between oral histories and the fossils, dubbed Homo floresiensis, is the subject of Forth’s new book, “Between Ape and Human.”
Forth, now retired, was a professor of anthropology at the University of Alberta for more than three decades. He first heard of the “Apeman” from the “Lio” people of Flores in the 1980s.
But what about this story sounded like it might be true?
“It’s the way that people were describing them as animals, as a kind of animal — not human beings by the way, the distinction is very important for them as it is for most people. But at the same time they’re beings that walked erect unlike any other animal, and otherwise looked humanlike, although they were very small (or they are very small), and somewhat hairier.”