An unusually thick lower jawbone with giant teeth discovered and literally fished up 15 miles out to sea by Fishermen working within the Penghu channel off Taiwan. They discovered it in their nets in what was supposed to be just another day at sea. Researchers estimate that this fossil is around 200,000 years old and is far bigger than the mandibles of different historical human species residing in Asia. Scholars speculate that this fossil might belong to a unknown primitive human being. This finding could rewrite the history since science believed that the Homo erectus were the only species living in that area in the past.
Scientists say there might have been a number of species of early people dwelling in Asia till the arrival of”early humans” round fifty five thousand years in the past. Some specialists say the jawbone may be from a big cranium of a identified species or even provide proof that a Neanderthal-like species lived in Asia in the distant past.
Anthropologists from the National Museum of Natural Science in Taiwan and the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo who have had the opportunity to study this new finding state that this fossil does not resemble any known species that lived in the area. Scholars are very interested in details about this antique fossil which further research will provide.
Researchers believe the robust-jawed ‘Penghu man’ had a unique evolutionary origin from the Homo erectus discovered within Asia.
It may imply that it’s either a completely new species or a uncommon subgroup of Homo erectus.
According to MailOnline, Dr. Yousuke Kaifu, an anthropologist at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo said that ‘It is a well-preserved mandible – a small fragment but contains a lot of information useful to evaluate its evolutionary position. ‘What we can say is that it is clearly different from the known Homo erectus populations from northern China and Java, and likely represent a group that has been so far unrecognized so.’
The finding suggests that this species would have had a entirely different look from modern humans, pointing more to the hypothesis that this species could have been an entirely new breed oh ancient humans.
This discovery is leading researchers to the conclusion that the conventional view of Homo erectus as the one historical human species residing on the eastern Asian continent till the arrival of recent man is inaccurate and it might have in reality shared the world with many different human lineages of the past.
Dr Chun-Hsiang Chang, from National Museum of Natural Science explains: ‘Several different models can be proposed to explain this situation. First, such morphology may be primitive retention from earlier Asian Homo.
‘This hypothesis implies the presence of another longstanding Homo lineage in Asia that continued from the Early Pleistocene.
‘Otherwise, there may have been a migration of robust-jawed Homo from Africa, possibly bringing along Acheulean stone tool technology around the terminal Early Pleistocene, who later evolved some unique morphology locally.
‘Both hypotheses cast doubt on the traditional view that H. erectus was the sole hominin species on the Asian continent in the Early to early Middle Pleistocene.’
Researchers have had difficulties to accurately date the fossilised jaw but they were able to estimate its age based on isotopes found in the jaw. According to scientist, the fossilized jaw is no older than 450,000 years but they believe it to be probably younger than 190,000 years, speculating it could even be as young as 10,000 years old, which leaves a very big age range making it difficult to pinpoint exactly.
Source and reference: National Museum of Natural Science in Taiwan / National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo.