Advanced Red Deer Cave people may be a new species.
Homo sapiens is perhaps shorter than we think the only human species on earth. Australian and Chinese researchers have found traces of a hitherto unknown prehistoric people that lived in caves in southern China just 14,500 to 11,500 years ago.
The bones and skulls of the five smallest individuals stand out because they have both primitive and modern characteristics, and in addition they have some unique features such as large eyebrow arches, wide cheekbones and a thick skull, which is also found in much older human species. The brain itself is small, but the frontal lobe, which determines personality and behavior, is just as large as ours. The posterior part of the brain, which processes the sensory impressions, is primitive again.
The researchers have not yet classified the human species. For the time being they are called Red Deer Cave people, because many bones of red deer have also been found in the same cave. The research leader, Darren Curnoe, suspects that there is a whole new branch of our family tree, but others think of a rare variant of our own species. It is hoped that DNA will provide a definitive answer quickly.
Species lived simultaneously
Recent research suggests that we were not alone on Earth until recently. Several hominids have been discovered, including Homo denisova and floresiensis, also known as Hobbit. Our ancestors, who have been around for around 200,000 years, may have associated with these people.