BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The discovery of a thigh bone suggests the existence of a mysterious species of humans.
Could an archaic species of human beings have survived until as late as 14,000 years ago? It indeed seems that archaic humans may have lived alongside the oldest modern humans.
In 2012, a team of researchers from China and Australia announced the discovery of a strange group of archaic humans in Southwest China. They were called the “Red Cave People”. Today, the same team found yet another bone in the cave that confirms that this group comprised pre-modern humans.
The Red Cave people were interesting because they seemed to possess features that appeared in archaic humans, but not in modern humans. How was this to be explained? The team hypothesized that they could either be a very early modern population that settled in those parts of China some 100,000 years ago and became isolated. The isolation might explain the preserving of their archaic features for such a long time.
A second hypothesis was that the group was a very late archaic population much like the Neanderthals that survived until the end of the Ice Age because of living in isolation. Still other researchers suggested that they might be a hybrid between modern humans and some unknown archaic species.
But back in 2012, the scientists working on the case had only focused their attention on the teeth and skulls, while this thigh bone might give them a broader picture on the matter.
The hypothesis they propound now is that the group was most probably formed of archaic humans that had survived in China and that interbred with modern humans, or that they were resultants of a much earlier interbreeding. Again, they must have retained their hybrid features due to living in isolation.
The thigh bone reveals a close resemblance to ancient species, like Homo erectus or Homo habilis. The reconstruction of the body mass recreates a human that couldn’t have weighed more than 50 kilograms – very little compared to modern humans.
There is one caveat though, and the researchers are well aware of it. It is that they only have the one bone, so care needs to be taken when drawing conclusions. However, they also say that together with the skull and teeth, the thigh bone makes a very compelling case.
Image source: www.upload.wikipedia.org