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Historical breakthrough in a famous travel destination: New human species discovered

A new species of ancient human, with unique features, have been discovered by researchers, on Luzon island in the Philippines, reads an article announced in Nature on Wednesday. The species, called Homo luzonensis, lived there more than 50,000 years ago.

Researchers digging in the Philippines’s Callao Cave found teeth and bones that they say belong to a distinct species of ancient human, which they have named Homo luzonensis. The species, unknown to science so far, is one of the most important finds that will be out in the coming years, scientists predict.

The small-bodied hominin, named Homo luzonensis, lived on the island of Luzon at least 50,000 to 67,000 years ago. The hominin, identified from a total of seven teeth and six small bones, hosts a patchwork of ancient and more advanced features. The landmark discovery makes Luzon the third Southeast Asian island in the last 15 years to bear signs of unexpectedly ancient human activity.

Decades ago, paleontologists and anthropologists only knew that archaic hominins such as Homo erectus ventured over land bridges into parts of what is now Indonesia nearly a million years ago, but no farther than that, as it was believed that these hominins were prevented from the dangerous ocean currents to reach other places without boats. Luzon was just that <hard to get> type of place, for it had never been connected to the mainland by land bridges.

So, how did researchers come up with the idea to dig for human traces on Luzon? It was in 2004 when they unveiled Homo floresiensis, a diminutive hominin, also known as “the hobbit”, that lived in the Indonesian island of Flores until 50,000 years ago. Inspired by this breakthrough, study coauthor and project leader Armand Mijares returned with his team to Callao Cave in 2007 and started to dig deeper, in search for more.

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