Unknown human ancestor discovered

Image credit: Tel Aviv University

In 2010 near the city of Ramla in central Israel, at the Nesher Ramla prehistoric site, the researchers found stone tools and human bones, as well as large quantities of animal bones, including the remains of horses, deer and extinct cattle known as aurochs after digging down about 26 feet.

It took a decade to put together these fossils, by cleaning them and reconstruct them and collect comparable material around the world to properly understand them, says Hershkovitz, a paleoanthropologist at Tel Aviv University and lead author of one of the two studies on the discovery.

It was concluded that the bones belongs to a new type of Home or the human family. They dated the fossils to be about 120,000 to 140,000 years old.

These new bones shares the structure of the Neanderthals but these mystery humans possessed a completely different skull structure with no chin and very large teeth.

Image credit: Tel Aviv University

They also found stone tools alongside these bones, that could have been hafted into shafts to form spears or arrows, the same kind of tools that our ancestors(modern humans and Neanderthals) seen to have used.

Hershkovitz and his colleagues were not able to recover DNA from these fossils. “The problem in Israel is that we live in a hot country,” Hershkovitz said. DNA can break down because of heat, “so we never manage to extract DNA from bones older than 15,000 years. We gave it a try, but we knew from the very beginning that our chances were basically nil.”

It remains a mystery to who they are, where they lived but yet this discovery paves a way to answer that question.

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