A PUZZLING discovery of a skull in northeastern China may belong to an early species of humans dating back over 146,000 years ago.
Researchers have composed a sketch of what the dragon man or Homo longi may have looked like when he roamed the Earth.
Is the dragon man skull a human skull?
The dragon man skull is believed to be a primitive skull of a man who was “probably” in his 50’s.
The man would have had an “extremely wide” face, deep eyes with large eye sockets, big teeth and a brain similar in size to modern humans, according to researchers.
Paleontologist Qiang Ji of Hebei GEO University and his team believe that the skull may be that of a Denisovan, a human ancestor from Asia known specifically from DNA, though it has yet to be made official.
The researchers plan to see if they are able to extract proteins or other DNA from the cranium, which also includes a tooth.
Additionally, they will perform CT scans to get a closer look at the skull’s interior, including the sinuses, ear, and brain shape.
Who discovered the dragon man skull?
The cranium was found by Chinese man who was forced to build a bridge across the Songhua River in Harbin while Japanese soldiers occupied northern China nearly 90 years ago.
He hid the skull in a well and never went back for it.
The skull was made known by the bridge builder’s grandchildren who retrieved it after their grandfather told them about it prior to his death.
The cranium was donated to the Geoscience Museum at Hebei GEO University.
Scientists named the skull Homo longi, which is derived from Heilongjiang, or Black Dragon River, the province where the cranium was located.
Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at The Natural History Museum in London and co-author of the research spoke on the discovery, saying: “The Harbin skull is the most important fossil I’ve seen in 50 years.
“It shows how important East Asia and China is in telling the human story.”