Scientists Head Back To Callao Cave After Homo Luzonensis Discovery

Last year, scientists accidentally rewrote the history of human evolution when they discovered a new human species now called the Homo luzonensis in Callao Cave, located in Cagayan, Philippines. Now, scientists plan on going back to the cave to search for more answers.

Clues About Human Evolution

The discovery of the Homo luzonensis earlier last year was both unexpected and wonderful since it showed that human evolution may not have been that simple after all. However, it also raised some new questions. For example, was the Homo luzonensis big or small? What is its lineage? How and when did it reach the Philippine island of Luzon?

To hopefully answer these questions, University of the Philippines Associate Professor Armand Salvador Mijares and his team plan on going back to Callao Cave for another research expedition this February.

"Right after the conference, by next week, we're actually beginning our trip season to excavate again," Mijares said in an interview.

Composed of students and alumni of the UP Archaeological Studies Program, along with a team of international scholars, the research team plans on digging in Callao Cave for around 6 weeks, with the initial announcement made during the International Conference on Homo luzonensis and the Hominin Record of Southeast Asia held Monday and Tuesday in UP Diliman.

"We would like to find more diagnostic human remains for further research on the new hominin species Homo luzonensis," the team said during the conference.

During the same conference, Mijares also said that the discovery of the new human species highlighted Southeast Asia as an important region for evolutionary studies since it followed the discovery of the Homo floresiensis in eastern Indonesia and the Homo erectus in Java, Indonesia, which were discovered much earlier.

Additionally, the National Museum of the Philippines plan on setting up a cultural marker at the Callao Cave in Peñablanca

, Cagayan, which is where the fossil remains were discovered. Per the National Museum, the marker officially recognizes the Callao Cave complex as an “Important Cultural Property” under the National Cultural Heritage Law of 2009. The law protects the property from vandalism and destruction.

Human Fossils New analysis of mitochondrial DNA from modern human fossils like the triple burial from Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic challenges the dates of "mitochondrial Eve," the common ancestor of all humans, and the first migration out of Africa. J. Svoboda

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