On June 25, scientists stated that a skull recovered in northeastern China represents a newly discovered human species known as Homo longi, or “Dragon Man,” and that the lineage should take the place of Neanderthals as our closest relatives. The skull dates back at least 146,000 years, to the Middle Pleistocene.
The Harbin skull was discovered in the 1930s near Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, but was reputedly kept in a well for 85 years to keep it hidden from the Japanese Army. In 2018, it was unearthed and given to Ji Qiang, a lecturer at Hebei GEO University.
“According to our findings, the Harbin group is more closely related to H. sapiens than the Neanderthals — that is, Harbin had a more recent common ancestor with us than the Neanderthals,” said co-author Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. “If these are considered separate species, this is our sister (closest relative) species.” The findings were published in three different papers in the journal ‘The Innovation’.