New Delhi: Researchers in Israel have claimed to have discovered a new type of pre-historic human with distinct features and characteristics.
The fossils date to between 140,000 and 120,000 years ago, and the team believes the Nesher Ramla type would have overlapped with Homo sapiens, the lineage of modern humans.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem dubbed the “extraordinary discovery” the “Nesher Ramla Homo type” after the site, in a study published in the journal Science.
“The morphology of the Nesher Ramla humans shares features with both Neanderthals… and archaic Homo,” the researchers said in a statement.
“This type of Homo is very unlike modern humans — displaying a completely different skull structure, no chin and very large teeth, ” the researchers said.
Along with the human remains, the dig uncovered large quantities of animal bones as well as stone tools.
The researchers suggested that some fossils previously discovered in Israel dating back as far as 400,000 years could belong to the same prehistoric human type.
“We had never imagined that alongside Homo sapiens, archaic Homo roamed the area so late in human history,” lead archaeologist Yossi Zaidner said.
The archaeological finds associated with human fossils show that ‘Nesher Ramla Homo’ possessed advanced stone-tool production technologies and most likely interacted with the local Homo sapiens,” Zaidner added.
Dentist and anthropologist Rachel Sarig of Tel Aviv University said that previously researchers had tried to ascribe the older bones to known human groups like Homo sapiens or Neanderthals.
“But now we say: No. This is a group in itself, with distinct features and characteristics,” she said.