Feeds

Chinese fossil analysis suggests new hominid species

Chinless wonders walked 12,000 years ago

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Details on what could be a new species of human based in East Asia have been discovered by archeologists, and could alter our understanding of the spread of humanity across the planet.

Scientists have published an open paper detailing the analysis of the remains of three individuals discovered at the Maludong (or Red Deer Cave), in China's Yunnan province, in 1989 and a partial skeleton found at Longlin, in neighboring Guangxi province, in 1979. They contain a curious mix of modern and archaic body types, including the frontal skull lobes found in modern humans but lacking an appreciable chin.

Meet the Red Deer ancestors

New species or cross-breed?

"These new fossils might be of a previously unknown species, one that survived until the very end of the Ice Age around 11,000 years ago," says Professor Curnoe in a statement. "Alternatively, they might represent a very early and previously unknown migration of modern humans out of Africa, a population who may not have contributed genetically to living people."

Dubbed the Red Deer Cave people, after the animal bones more prevalent in the cave systems, their fossils are now being analyzed to see if DNA can be extracted that would give more clues as to their relationship with modern man. It may be that this is a new branch of the Homo sapiens family tree, or even that the remains are the product of interbreeding between archaic and modern man.

Red Deer people skulls

DNA analysis needed of humanoid bones

So far, no fossils younger than 100,000 years old have been found in mainland East Asia resembling any species other than Homo sapiens, so if this is a new species it would write the assumption that the land was empty until we trundled along. The finds may also be relevant to the continuing controversy over the Flores "hobbits."

"The discovery of the red-deer people opens the next chapter in the human evolutionary story – the Asian chapter – and it's a story that's just beginning to be told," says Professor Curnoe. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.