Florent Detroit, Reddit | iambinss

Extinct Human Species From Over 50,000 Years Ago Discovered In Island Cave

The month is still young, but it already seems like a big one for science. Not long after humans have finally managed to capture an image of a black hole, we've already got a discovery to make us rethink everything we thought was possible.

Although the black hole images reveal what is possible for humans to accomplish now, a recent discovery in the Philippines has shed some light on what their ancestors could do tens of thousands of years ago.

In Callao Cave, which sits on the northern part of Luzon — the largest island of Philippines — lay some bones that changed everything.

Reddit | iambinss

As the BBC reported, these bones belong to a species called Homo luzonensis, which apparently existed between 67,000 years and 50,000 years ago.

The bones had slowly been uncovered since 2007 until excavators ended up with 13 of them.

Florent Detroit

According to the BBC, they belonged to at least three members of the species and showed a mix of adults and children.

The remains consist of teeth, some bones from the hands and feet, and part of a femur.

The species shares some characteristics with more recent humans, but there's a more complicated mix at work than that.

Florent Detroit

In addition to much earlier members of the Homo genus than us, as well as ape-like creatures called australopithecines that walked upright and lived between two and four million years ago.

Also of interest is the fact that the discovered finger and toe bones were curved.

Reddit | jv_ontherocks

Not only does this give them another trait in common with australopithecines, but it also suggests that climbing was a important part of their lives.

So what about this discovery is so explosive?

Reddit | theredneckredditor

Basically, the story of how humankind spread throughout the world is now more complicated than we once thought.

For years, evidence suggested that the first of our ancestors to leave our homeland, Africa, was Home Erectus, whose travels were traced back 1.9 million years ago.

However, not only does the discovery of this new species call this assumption into question, but it raises some mysterious questions.

Reddit | Triton333

It's possible that Homo luzonensis set out for Southeast Asia before Homo erectus left Africa, but the real question is how they even ended up in Luzon.

The island was always only accessible by sea, so it should have been impossible for the species to reach it. There's definitely much more research to be done here.

Although this is definitely a landmark discovery, it's not the first time an extinct human species was discovered in Southeast Asia.

Reddit | DoubleAJay

50,000-year-old specimens of Homo floresiensis, a species nicknamed "hobbits" due to their short stature, were discovered in the Indonesian island of Flores.

Much like Homo luzonensis, these "hobbits" seemed to share traits with australopithecines, but this was previously written off as a coincidence.

Another human species discovered in the region showed a much more direct connection with us.

Reddit | mirinba

Based on analysis of certain DNA, the species–known as Denisovans–were found to have bred with early Homo sapiens when they came to Southeast Asia.

h/t: BBC