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Current Affairs

Dragon man

Date: 28 June 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A unique skull has been discovered in China that may have belonged to a completely different human species.

 

Background

The cranium part of the skull was discovered near north-east China in the Songhua river. The age is estimated to be 146,000 years.

 

Details

  • A similar discovery of a unique and previously unknown species was also made in Israel, which has been dubbed as “Nesher Ramla Homo”.

  • This species of human was said to have co-existed with other species that may have existed during that time. These include Homo sapiens, Denisovans and Neanderthals.

  • The Israel findings have been dated to 140,000 to 120,000 years. This species had mastered use of tools and technology, which was earlier believed to have been possessed by only Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

  • All the present humans belong to the Homo sapiens species that evolved in Africa some 300,000 years ago.

  • The closest relatives of humans are Neanderthals that lived in central Asia and south-western Europe about 400,000-40,000 years ago.

  • The Nesher Ramla Homo species was able to hunt animals, use fire for cooking food and also made use of wood based weapons.

  • The evidences indicate that different human species present at that point had cultural interactions with each other.

 

Characteristics of “Dragon man”

  • The official name of the “Dragon man” is Homo longi, named after the Long Jiang (Dragon) river flowing near Harbin city.

  • Some of the researchers have been asking to declare it a completely separate species of Homo Genus. This was due to its unique skull shape.

  • The size of the skull is big, indicating that its brain capacity was higher than contemporaries and similar to Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

 

Significance

  • It puts light on the evolutionary phase of ancient humans. The “dragon man” may be the missing link between ancient human species of Homo erectus and us.

  • It will also help in ascertaining if there was inbreeding between different human species. At present, Neanderthals contribute to about 1-4 per cent of DNA of non-African humans.

  • This research will help in understanding the role of genes from other species that has helped Homo sapiens to survive, including immunity boosters.