Learning more about ancient humans is important if we want to understand humanity’s origins. That’s why it is always so exciting when scientists uncover ancient human skulls hidden in fossil records. An ancient human skull found in China is making waves because it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
The skull was uncovered by an international team of scientists that have described it as being “unlike any other hominin found before,” according to ScienceAlert. The skull has a more elongated top, and doesn’t seem to resemble any of the skulls of other ancient humans that we’ve uncovered in the past, including the Neanderthals, which you can see an example of in the article’s main image above.
These new bones are currently labeled as HLD 6 and were uncovered in Hualongdong, East Asia, in 2019. Since then, scientists have been working to try to connect the ancient human skull and bones to one of the already known lineages of ancient humans, without any luck.
The face is structured similarly to that of the modern human lineage, which is believed to have split from Homo erectus up to 750,000 years ago. From there, though, the similarities end. For now, the belief is that this new discovery is the reveal of a previously unknown lineage between modern humans and the Denisovans, which would have split from the Neanderthals roughly 400,000 years ago.
Of course, this could all change as they learn more about the bones’ structure and if more fossils are discovered. Unfortunately, hominin fossils found in China haven’t usually fitted easily into any particular lineage, so the scientists definitely have a bit of work ahead of them before they can say with certainty where this particular ancient human skull lies in the lineage of humanity’s history.
A paper on the ancient skull is available in the September edition of the Journal of Human Evolution.