Sunday, April 21, 2019


Armand Mijares didn’t initially realize the significance of what he had found, but it would turn out to change the paleoanthropologist’s life – and rewrite human history.

At an archaeological site on the Philippine island of Luzon in 2007, his team unearthed a wide array of ancient animal bones, dated to be about 67,000 years old. The researchers couldn’t identify the fossils out in the field, so Dr. Mijares sent them to a zoologist colleague.

“He called me on my cellphone” one evening, recalls Dr. Mijares, an associate professor at the University of the Philippines. “He called me, ‘Hey, hi mate, you have human remains!’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘You have one human remain.’”

Among the ancient bones was a single human toe bone. But which human species did it belong to?

Now, after studying more hominin bones discovered at the site in 2011 and 2015, the researchers have come to a history-shaking conclusion: A human species previously unknown to science once lived on Luzon. The researchers introduced the new species, dubbed Homo luzonensis, in a paper published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.


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