Saturday, February 7, 2015

Homo who?

An international team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Spain’s National Research Center on Human Evolution (CENIEH) have taken a new look at some ancient teeth – 9 from 4 individuals – that were discovered in 1976. Their reanalysis of the fossils, which were recovered from the early Late Pleistocene site of Xujiayao in northern China, indicates that the teeth either belonged to hybrids of known populations or in fact represent a whole new species of human ancestors that we never knew about. That much information can be gleaned from the specimens because, as study author María Martinón-Torres of CENIEH tells the BBC. "Teeth are like landscapes in miniature. Each of those slopes, grooves, valleys define a pattern or combination of features that can be distinctive of a population."

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