|Dino Lirios |||Jan 29, 2015 08:50 AM EST|
(Photo : iflscience.com) Teeth fossils from unknown human ancestors
Mysteries abound after archaeologists unearthed teeth in China that don't seem to belong to any of our known Homo ancestors.
The teeth seem to be neither modern humans nor Neanderthals.
A study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology suggests the mysterious chompers could have belonged to a whole new species of human.
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These new species could, in fact, even be hybrids of known populations, or a newer species of human ancestors never encountered before.
History states 340,000 to 90,000 years ago, modern humans (Homo sapiens) could be found in Africa, while Homo neanderthalensis, the less evolved version of modern humans, were found in Europe.
While other types of humans ancestors existed around the world, the evolutionary progression of humans is incomplete since there's a lack of East Asian hominin fossils. These hominin are much like us.
In 1976, however, some hominin dental samples were found in northern China. These samples were analyzed by an international team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Spain's National Research Center on Human Evolution today.
They team has re-analyzed the fossils and measured anything and everything it could, from size to shape and even cusps.
While analyzing the fossils, the team found a mixture of features both primitive and derived.
This indicates these hominins are different from modern humans, but also share some characteristics with the Neanderthals, as well.
Moreover, the fossils have some primitive structures previously been found in East Asian hominins during the early and middle Pleistocene.
Thus, the findings indicate the species of human to which these fossils belong to are contemporaries of both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
The lineage could have been a result of interbreeding between the two types, or even a different lineage that survived way into the Late Pleistocene in China.
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