Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neandertals.
“The discovery places into question a whole suite of scenarios of later Pleistocene human population dispersals and interconnections based on tracing isolated anatomical or genetic features in fragmentary fossils,” said study co-author Erik Trinkaus, PhD, a physical anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis.
“It suggests, instead, that the later phases of human evolution were more of a labyrinth of biology and peoples than simple lines on maps would suggest.”
See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents – for the way in which the notion of Neanderthals as a “separate species” dies hard despite intense clubbing from evidence. At least, one must play fast and loose with the concept of “species.”
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