Fossils of new human species unearthed in Philippines | Sunday Observer

Fossils of new human species unearthed in Philippines

Paleontologists had long believed that ancient humans used land bridges to migrate from one country to another. Hence Luzon, the largest of the 7,641 islands that comprise the Philippine archipelago in the Western Pacific Ocean, appeared to be entirely out of reach for our ancestors. Now, there is evidence that a previously unknown human species managed to overcome the ocean currents and settle on the island between 50,000 and 67,000 years ago — around the same time as our species, the Homo sapiens and our closest ancestors, the Neanderthals dwelled on Earth.

Armand Mijares, who co-authored the study published in the journal Nature on April 10, 2019, discovered the ancient humans’ first fossil, a nearly complete foot bone, in Luzon's Callao Cave in 2010. Though the University of the Philippines Diliman archaeologist suspected it may belong to that of a new species, he needed more evidence. Subsequent visits to the location in 2011 and 2015 yielded two more toe bones, along with seven teeth, two finger bones, and part of a femur. Though that may not sound like much, it was enough to confirm the researcher's theory.