16 July 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Homo Bodoensis may be the ancestor of modern humans

Although modern humans are the only surviving human lineages, their kinship with other human species that roamed the world is still controversial. Scientists have now identified a new species that could be the ancestor of modern humans.

In a newly published study, scientists describe H. bodoensis as a new species and suggest it as the ancestor of Homo sapiens.

Researchers examined human fossils dating from around 774,000 to 129,000 years ago in the latest study (once known as the Middle Pleistocene and now renamed the Chibanian). Previous research claimed that modern humans evolved in Africa around this period, whereas Neanderthals arose in Eurasia. However, much about this pivotal period in human development remains unknown – a situation paleoanthropologists refer to as “the mess in the middle.”

Human fossils from the Chibanian period from Africa and Eurasia are frequently attributed to one of two species: Homo heidelbergensis or Homo rhodesiensis. However, these species frequently held variously and frequently conflicting, descriptions of their skeletal features and other attributes.

Homo bodoensis may help to untangle how human lineages moved and interacted across the globe. (Photo: Ettore Mazza)
Homo bodoensis may help to untangle how human lineages moved and interacted across the globe. (Photo: Ettore Mazza)

Recent DNA research has indicated that certain H. heidelbergensis bones discovered in Europe were really from early Neanderthals. As a result, the scientists recognized that H. heidelbergensis was a redundant designation in such circumstances.

Similarly, current examinations of several East Asian fossils indicate that they should no longer be referred to as H. heidelbergensis, according to the researchers. Many facial and other traits seen in Chibanian East Asian human fossils, for example, differ from those found in European and African fossils of the same period. Furthermore, African Chibanian specimens are occasionally referred to as both H. heidelbergensis and H. rhodesiensis. The researchers also highlighted that H. rhodesiensis was a poorly defined term that was never widely recognized in science, owing in part to its link with problematic English imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

To help clear up the uncertainty, the researchers have proposed the possibility of a new species, H. bodoensis, named after a 600,000-year-old skull discovered in 1976 in Bodo D’ar, Ethiopia. Many fossils formerly identified as H. heidelbergensis or H. rhodesiensis would be included under this new designation. The researchers believe H. bodoensis was the direct ancestor of H. sapiens, forming a different branch of the human family tree than the one that gave rise to the Neanderthals and the enigmatic Denisovans, who were thought to have lived around the same time as their Neanderthal cousins based on Siberian and Tibetan fossils.

Homo bodoensis was named after a 600,000-year-old skull found in Ethiopia.  (Photo: Ettore Mazza)
Homo bodoensis was named after a 600,000-year-old skull found in Ethiopia. (Photo: Ettore Mazza)

H. bodoensis will be used to characterize the majority of Chibanian human fossils from Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean in this new classification. Many European Chibanian human remains might be classed as Neanderthals. H. heidelbergensis and H. rhodesiensis would then go extinct. More investigation into Chibanian human fossils from East Asia may result in their own names.

“Giving a new name to a species is always controversial,” study co-lead author Mirjana Roksandic, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, told Live Science. “However, if people start using it, it will survive and live.”

“We are not claiming to rewrite human evolution,” Roksandic said. Instead, the researchers seek to organize the variation seen in ancient humans “in a way that makes it possible to discuss where it comes from and what it represents,” she explained. “Those differences can help us understand movement and interaction.”

Mirjana Roksandic, the researchers want to see if they can find any H. bodoensis specimens in Europe from the Chibanian, Roksandic said.

The scientists detailed their findings online on October 28 in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues News, and Reviews.

Cover Photo: Ottigo

Related Articles

A new Indo-European Language discovered in the Hittite capital Hattusa

21 September 2023

21 September 2023

The Çorum Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism announced in a written statement that a new Indo-European language was discovered...

Turkey’s Urartian Altıntepe Castle transforms into open museum

25 May 2022

25 May 2022

Altıntepe Castle, one of the most important centers of the Urartians and the Eastern Roman Empire, is now set to...

The ability to produce ceramic vessels came to Europe via Siberia and the Caspian Sea region

6 January 2023

6 January 2023

A new study suggests that the knowledge for making ceramic vessels came to Europe from the Middle East and the...

‘Lost’ 4,000-year-old wedge tomb rediscovered in Ireland

22 January 2024

22 January 2024

A “lost” 4,000-year-old wedge tomb has been rediscovered in County Kerry, in the peninsular southwest region of Ireland. The megalithic...

A first-of-its-kind Ayyanar stone idol found in Vellore, India

25 June 2022

25 June 2022

An Ayyanar stone idol, the first of its kind in Vellore, was discovered at Thandalai Krishnapuram (TK Puram) in Tamil...

A stone bathtub, which is considered to be the first example of ‘water birth’, was found in Ani Ruins

7 September 2022

7 September 2022

A stone tub was found in the large bath, whose birth was mentioned in a work by the Turkish scholar...

Findings showing the connection between Troy and Tavşanlı Höyük have been reached

23 August 2022

23 August 2022

Archaeologists unearthed 4,200-year-old hazelnut remains and marble idols during excavations at Tavşanlı Höyük (Tavsanlı Mound), located in the central Turkish...

A 4,500-year-old rope remains were discovered at Turkey’s Seyitömer mound

26 December 2021

26 December 2021

In the rescue excavation carried out in the mound, which is located within the license border of Çelikler Seyitömer Electricity...

Israeli researchers uncover earliest evidence silver used as currency in Levant

9 January 2023

9 January 2023

On Sunday, Israeli archaeologists revealed that they had found the earliest proof of silver being used as money in the...

New study: Humans engaged in large-scale warfare in Europe 5,000 years ago ‘1,000 years earlier than previously thought’

3 November 2023

3 November 2023

Hundreds of human remains unearthed from a burial site point to a  warfare between Stone Age people long before the...

Archaeologists have unearthed a trove of artifacts at the necropolis of Saqqara

9 June 2022

9 June 2022

Archaeologists at the necropolis of Saqqara, near Cairo, have discovered a cache of 250 complete mummies in painted wooden sarcophagi...

Egypt dig unearths 41 mln-year-old Whale in desert -Tutcetus rayanensis-

12 August 2023

12 August 2023

Paleontologists in Egypt announced the discovery of a new species of extinct whale that inhabited the sea covering present-day Egypt...

Rare medieval bone flute unearthed in Kent, southeastern coast of England

22 November 2022

22 November 2022

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology have unearthed a rare medieval bone flute during excavations in Herne Bay, located in Kent, southeastern...

8,000-year-old Musical Instrument found in northwest Turkey

4 July 2021

4 July 2021

Archaeologists in northwestern Turkey’s Bilecik on Tuesday discovered a musical instrument that dates back to an estimated 8,000 years. During...

Ancient fish processing factories were discovered in ancient Roman city of Balsa, Portugal

18 July 2022

18 July 2022

In the Roman city of Balsa, one of the most important and symbolic archaeological sites in southern Portugal, archaeologists have...