Recently the discovery of a skull fragment from approximately half a million years ago has clearly directed all arrows to a previously unknown subspecies of early humans and subsequently creating room for tantalising hints about a possible ancestor of the Neanderthals, scientists hypothesised.
According to research, the 400,000-year-old fossil was unearthed from a cave site in Portugal in 2014 using a technical device in conjunction with ancient stone hand axes, and marks the oldest human cranium fossil ever found in the country.
Scientist currently don’t know if it was from a male or female, how the person died, or even what form of early human it was.
The large piece of skull displays a new mix of features not seen before in fossil humans, reported Science.
From what was observed, the fragment has traits that link it to Neanderthals, such as their famous fused brow ridge, as well as some primitive traits that resemble other extinct fossils in Europe.
“Series of interogations in relation to which species these fossils represent. Focus is now to think of them as ancestors of the Neanderthals,” co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropologist at New York’s Binghamton University told French press agency AFP.
“It is not a Neanderthal itself,” he added. “It has some features that might be related to the later Neanderthals,” including a lump of bone near the ear called the mastoid process, the exact purpose of which is unclear.