Anthropologists estimate that Homo erectus died about 400,000 years ago, much earlier than Homo sapiens' evolution in Africa about 100,000 years later. But this estimate is always a bit vague-when every upright Haemophilus disappeared from Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago, did it really disappear?
About a century ago, Dutch researchers discovered twelve upright skulls and two lower bones in Ngandong, a volcanic island in Java, Indonesia. These findings represent the youngest and most advanced species ever, but dating them has always been a guess.
According to a new study published in the journal Nature, further chronological analysis of river landscapes in the same area concluded that these ancient humans were still walking on the island of Java 108,000 to 117,000 years ago.
Corresponding author Russell Ciochon, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Iowa, told Popular Science: "On the Java island of Nandong, there is nowhere else for uprights . "
He said that during the period when the glaciers were large and vast and the sea level was low, these peoples may enter Java through the land bridge between the Asian continent and the island.
Although these evidences indicate that these ancients have been lingering for quite some time, there is still no evidence that H. erectus has survived long enough to hang out on Java with modern people. However, they may still be confused with other mermaids. Genetic evidence indicates that the ancient human subspecies Denisovans in humans crossed with modern humans and older species and transmitted a small amount of ancient mysterious DNA residual signals.
Ciochon said that another early human Homo floresiensis may be a dwarf of the jumping erect ape in Southeast Asia, and the Homo luzonensis may be a derived species.
All three of them are likely to live and continue developing on different islands at the same time, as this new study suggests that the upright Java H. looks different from older relatives in Africa and has evolved more.
"Species can be ancestors of other later species and still exist," he said. In another corner of the world, African uprights may have caused Heidelbergs, and finally Neanderthals.
So, what caused the death of Java Homo erectus? Qiu Xiong said that this is likely to be climate change. A pile of bones were also found next to the fossils, which were found in an open woodland environment similar to Africa. Ecosystems have become today's rainforests-Homo erectus may not be able to adapt. Of course, it is impossible to know exactly when the species died, but these young fossils are undoubtedly a clue.
For Harvard's paleoanthropologist Phillip Rightmire, who was not involved in the study, the new study points to the possibility of the species' development.
But when a story ends, it raises more questions and possibilities about the origin of a species that may have played an important role in the evolution of our other ancient human relatives.
"Every time a new fossil is found, it seems impossible to clarify the story, but to make it more complicated," Rightmire said.