Scientists and researchers in China are out this week with extraordinary claims that they’ve found a new species of humans. Though that very claim has been thrown into doubt after it was revealed that the species may actually be that of the largely elusive Denisovan species of humans — a species now potentially believed to be our closest relative but remains largely unknown.
Correctly, the Denisovans may be a lineage rather than a species as it is understood that throughout human history different groups interbred with each other — likely helping lead to what we look like today.
The discovery hinges upon the finding of a massive skull now dubbed “Dragon Man.” The skull is believed to be far larger than any anatomically modern human on earth today. Informally known as “Dragon Man” (an O.D to where it was found in Chinese) and formally known as the Homo Longi species — some suspect that there may have been a scientific error in our human family tree. It is understood but not yet proven that the Longi species may be our closest relative and may have existed far more recently than originally thought.
Researchers believe the skull belonged to a 50 year old man roughly 296,000 years ago. Of course the find poses plenty of questions with our favourite being: How many more potentially human species haven’t we found? And are any of them still around today?