Scientists Discover Dragon Man Is a Closer Relative to Modern Humans Than Neanderthals

Scientists have found that Homo longi (dragon man) is a closer relative to modern humans than the Neanderthals. Dragon man is said to have lived about 146,000 years ago. His remains were found in Harbin City, Heilongjiang, China. The remains found might have belonged to a 50-year-old man.

Physical characteristics of dragon man

Scientists believe that dragon man was taller than humans, had a thick brow, big square jaw, a big mouth, a giant skull and massive teeth. Their skull was also big enough to hold a brain the size of a modern human’s. He was stocky like a Neanderthal but had lighter skin compared to other early humans.

Scientists believed that dragon man lived in the forest. They speculate that the humans might have belonged to a community that roamed in a wooded floodplain. One of the study’s co-authors, Professor Xijun Ni from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, believes they might have hunted, caught fish or gathered fruit and vegetables like the Homo sapiens.

According to the lead author, Professor Qiang Ji, a palaeontologist at Hebei GEO University, the fossil is one of the complete human cranial fossils found. It has preserved morphological details that are critical to understanding the evolution of the homo genus and the origin of Homo sapiens.

Dragon man more closely related to modern man than Neanderthals

Scientists found the skull at the bottom of the Songhua river in 1933. However, it is only recently that they have confirmed that it belongs to a different species.

Early humans are said to have migrated out of Africa about 2 million years ago. Research shows that China had other species between 900,000 and 125,000 years ago. As the early humans went into new territories with varying climates, they evolved into different populations.

Dragon man is said to reshape our understanding of evolution. Although it had archaic features similar to that of early humans, its cranium combines both derived and primitive features.

After analysing its skull, scientists believe that dragon man forms a third lineage of humans that lived among Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. It is more closely relates to Homo sapiens sharing a more recent common ancestor as compared to Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

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