Researchers in China have shown an ancient skull to the world for the first time. The skull could belong to a completely new species of humans that lived in Asia over 146,000 years ago. It could be from a group of humans that are the closest relatives to us. The researchers have nicknamed the person the skull came from "Dragon Man". It was originally found in the city of Harbin in 1933 but was kept hidden. The Japanese army occupied the city at the time. The Chinese worker who found the skull decided to keep it safe. He hid it at the bottom of his family's well. It stayed there for nearly 90 years. The man recently told his family about the skull before he died. His family located it and gave it to scientists.
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Scientists say Dragon Man could greatly change our understanding of human evolution. They say it belonged to "a large-brained male in his 50s with deep-set eyes and thick eyebrow ridges". He looked more like today's humans than any other extinct members of the human family tree. The species Dragon Man belonged to is probably closer to modern-day humans than Neanderthals were. Researcher Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London described Dragon Man's group. He said: "This population would have been hunter-gatherers, living off the land. From the winter temperatures in Harbin today, it looks like they were coping with even harsher cold than the Neanderthals."
- https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01738-w https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-01738-w