New Species Found in the Philippines

Hanna Saghatchi, Staff Writer

A researcher holds a fragment of a bone that was recently discovered in the Philippines. Image courtesy of Google Images.

A recent discovery in Callo Cave, Philippines has led researchers to believe that a new species may have been discovered. Researchers are calling the unknown species Homo Luzonensis.

Since the discovery, the bones have been studied, revealing that they belonged to two adults and one child who are believed to have lived 50,000-67,000 years ago. This means that Luzonensis would have lived at the same time as Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo Sapiens and the small-bodied Homo Floresiensis.

This species, like other hominids, is more of a close relative than our direct ancestor. Back in 2007, a single foot bone was found in the cave dated to 67,000 years ago. During the two excavations in 2011 and 2015, researchers found 12 additional hand and foot bones, including a partial femur and teeth, in the same layer of the cave. They are now the earliest discovered human remains in the Philippines. The distinction from this species is that the seven premolars and molars are smaller than other species.The only issue with this discovery is that scientists can’t find a way to remove the DNA from the fossils to determine where the species would stand today and in terms of evolution. The hand and foot bones found have a very unique anatomy.

Many of the remains found were very small in size, suggesting that they may have been the remains of young children. Image courtesy of Google Images.

“If you take each feature one by one, you will also find it in one or several hominin species, but if you take the whole combination of features, no other species of the genus Homo is similar, thus indicating that they belong to a new species,” said Florent Détroit, study author and paleoanthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris to CNN.

The researchers will also be performing another excavation in Southeast Asia. “We have more and more evidence that they successfully settled on several islands in the remote past in Southeast Asia, so it was probably not so accidental,” Détroit said in another statement to CNN, “Another important thing to have in mind is that you cannot successfully settle on an island with a single event of arrival of only few people, you need several individuals of course, and you need several arrivals, at least at the beginning, so that you have enough founders settled on the island.”

This discovery is exciting because it may give us more incite on the history of the civilizations before us.