‘Chinese dragon’ is more closely related to us than Neanderthals and possibly a new human species

A number of ancient human fossils, such as those from Dali, Jinyushan, and Hualongdong, have been found in China, which show a mosaic of primitive and modern features, such as the Harping skull. It has long been hotly debated whether these ancient fossils belonged to different human species or whether they were transitional forms between earlier species. standing man On sane man or they are primitive forms of our kind, wise man.

To determine a fossil’s relationship to other finds, paleoanthropologists typically compare morphological features one by one, or use statistical analysis to determine the sum of the similarities between human fossils.

However, Professor Ji and his team decided to apply phylogenetic analysis to their research. These are commonly used in evolutionary biology and can include a range of mathematical techniques for constructing family trees. These then represent the evolutionary history or relationship between different species or organisms that evolved from a common ancestor.

The researchers measured more than 600 distinctive features of the skull and compared them with those of other fossils with the help of a supercomputer.

Comprehensive genetic analysis found that the Harbin skull, along with a number of other ancient human fossils from East Asia, such as Dali, Jinyushan, Hualongdong and Xiahe Gao, belong to an evolutionary clade that shares the same recent ancestry with sane man. A clade is a group of organisms descended from the same ancestor and this same common ancestor.

“Neanderthals are generally believed to be the sister group of the Homo sapiens lineage. But our analyzes indicate that the Harbin skull and a number of other middle Pleistocene human fossils from China form a third lineage from East Asia, which is actually closer to Homo sapiens than to Neanderthals,” Stringer said. . “This means that Harbin shares a more recent common ancestor than Neanderthals.”

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The team’s reconstruction of the human family tree also indicates that the common ancestor we share with Neanderthals lived longer than previously thought.

“Time to split between sane man And Neanderthals probably go back further in evolutionary history than is thought, more than a million years ago,” said co-author Xijun Ni, a professor of primatology and palaeoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hebei University GEO. Right, we split from a human Neanderthals about 400,000 years earlier than scientists think.

Thus, thanks to its well-preserved nature, the Harbin skull sheds new light on the evolution of the genus. to turn down. Its estimated age from the Middle Pleistocene makes it an Asian contemporary of evolution Sapiens- man, Homo neanderthalensis— and the Denisova genealogy,” Stringer said.

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Denton Watson

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