‘Dragon Man’ skull discovered in China prompts reconsideration of human evolution

Roman AhmedWeb Editor

26th Jun, 2021. 06:03 pm

A new specie of ancient human dubbed Homo longi, or “Dragon Man,” could possibly change the way we understand human development, stated scientists.

Researchers said in their conclusions, that Homo longi could substitute Neanderthals as the connecting relative to our own species, Homo sapiens.

The discovery of the new species is connected to a skull known as the Harbin cranium, a fossil that was discovered decades ago but only recently studied.


“It is widely believed that the Neanderthal belongs to an extinct lineage that is the closest relative of our own species,” stated Xijun Ni, a professor of primatology and paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hebei GEO University, and author of two of the papers.

“However, our discovery suggests that the new lineage we identified that includes Homo longi is the actual sister group of Homo sapiens.”

The Harbin cranium “also shows other features resembling our species,” Chris Stringer, one of the authors, said in a news release about the findings from London’s Natural History Museum.

“It has flat and low cheekbones with a shallow canine fossa, and the face looks reduced and tucked under the braincase,” he added.


The term “Dragon Man” is derivative from the terrestrial name Long Jiang, which is commonly used for the Heilongjiang province and it means “Dragon River,” according to the study conducted by an international team and led by Qiang Ji, a professor at Hebei Geo University in China.

The research further stated that “skull is 9 inches long and more than 6 inches wide, is big enough to hold a brain similar in size of a modern human around 3 pounds (1,420ml) in brain volume. Researchers believe it belonged to a male, aged about 50”.

The skull was discovered in 1933 when a bridge was built over the Songhua River in Harbin City, in China’s Heilongjiang province, the study said, adding that data about the precise site was lost because of its “long and confused history.”

The skull is speculated to be more than 146,000 years old.

On the contrary, the findings were proclaimed hours after scientists said they revealed a new kind of early human after studying fragments of petrified bone dug up at a site used by a cement plant in central Israel.


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