Homo luzonensis

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Homo luzonensis
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene,
0.07–0.065  Ma
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Hominini
Genus: Homo
H. luzonensis
Binomial name
Homo luzonensis
Détroit et al., 2019

Homo luzonensis is an extinct species of primitive human in the genus Homo . In 2007, a third metatarsal bone (MT3) was discovered in Callao Cave, Luzon, Philippines by Philip J. Piper and initially identified as modern human by Florent Détroit. This find was dated using uranium series ablation to an age of 66,700 ± 1000 years before present, while associated faunal remains and a hominin tooth found in 2011 delivered dates of around 50,000 years ago. [1]

In biology, a species ( ) is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, morphology, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more closely they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between closely related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, and in a ring species. Also, among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, and each clone is potentially a microspecies.

<i>Homo</i> Genus of mammals

Homo is the genus which emerged in the otherwise extinct Australopithecus genus that encompasses the extant species Homo sapiens, plus several extinct species classified as either ancestral to or closely related to modern humans, most notably Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis. The genus is taken to emerge with the appearance of Homo habilis, just over two million years ago. Genus Homo, together with the genus Paranthropus is probably sister to A. africanus in the genus Australopithecus, which itself had previously split from the lineage of Pan, the chimpanzees.

Callao Cave Cave and archaeological site in the Philippines

Callao Cave is one of the limestone caves located in the municipality of Peñablanca, Cagayan province, in the Philippines. The seven-chamber show cave is one of 300 caves that dot the area and the best known natural tourist attraction of the province. The town is named as Peñablanca for the presence of white limestone rocks in the area. Callao Cave is located in the Barangays of Magdalo and Quibal in Peñablanca about 24 km (15 mi) northeast of Tuguegarao City, the capital of the Province of Cagayan.


In 2019, an article by Florent Détroit et al. in the academic journal Nature described the subsequent discovery of "twelve additional hominin elements that represent at least three individuals that were found in the same stratigraphic layer of Callao Cave as the previously discovered metatarsal" and identified the fossils as belonging to a newly discovered species, Homo luzonensis, on the basis of differences from previously identified species in the genus Homo. This included H. floresiensis and H. sapiens . [1] [2] [3] However, some scientists think additional evidence is required to confirm the fossils as a new species, rather than a locally adapted population of other Homo populations, such as H. erectus . [4]

Academic journal peer-reviewed periodical relating to a particular academic discipline

An academic or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which scholarship relating to a particular academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transparent forums for the presentation, scrutiny, and discussion of research. They are usually peer-reviewed or refereed. Content typically takes the form of articles presenting original research, review articles, and book reviews. The purpose of an academic journal, according to Henry Oldenburg, is to give researchers a venue to "impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences."

<i>Nature</i> (journal) scientific journal

Nature is a British multidisciplinary scientific journal, first published on 4 November 1869. It is one of the most recognizable scientific journals in the world, and was ranked the world's most cited scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports and is ascribed an impact factor of 40.137, making it one of the world's top academic journals. It is one of the few remaining academic journals that publishes original research across a wide range of scientific fields.

Stratigraphy The study of rock layers and their formation

Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigraphy has two related subfields: lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy.


Interior of Callao Cave on Luzon in the Philippines, where the fossil remains were found Callao Cave.jpg
Interior of Callao Cave on Luzon in the Philippines, where the fossil remains were found

Although the initial hypothesis of human migration to the Philippines proposed the use of land bridges during the last ice age, modern bathymetric readings of the Mindoro Strait and Sibutu Passage suggest that neither would have been fully closed (which correlates with the Philippines being biogeographically separated from Sundaland by the Wallace Line [note 1] ) and a sea crossing has always been necessary to reach Luzon and other oceanic islands of the Philippines.

H. Otley Beyer American anthropologist

Henry Otley Beyer was an American anthropologist, who spent most of his adult life in the Philippines teaching Philippine indigenous culture. A.V.H. Hartendorp called Beyer the "Dean of Philippine ethnology, archaeology, and prehistory".

Models of migration to the Philippines

There have been several models of early human migration to the Philippines. Since H. Otley Beyer first proposed his wave migration theory, numerous scholars have approached the question of how, when and why humans first came to the Philippines.

Land bridge

A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands. A land bridge can be created by marine regression, in which sea levels fall, exposing shallow, previously submerged sections of continental shelf; or when new land is created by plate tectonics; or occasionally when the sea floor rises due to post-glacial rebound after an ice age.

The small sizes of the hominins' molars suggest that it may have undergone island dwarfing, similar to H. floresiensis, [4] although no estimate of its height is currently possible.

The fossil human remains were associated with the remains of deer ( Cervus mariannus), wild pig, and an extinct bovine. [1] Some of the animal bones exhibit potential cutmarks, suggesting that they were butchered. [5] Much earlier stone tools and the almost complete fossilized skeleton of a butchered rhinoceros dating back to c. 700,000 years ago were found by Thomas Ingicco and colleagues in the nearby San Pedro site in Rizal, Kalinga. [6]


The 2019 Nature article describing H. luzonensis noted that: "The presence of another and previously unknown hominin species east of the Wallace Line during the Late Pleistocene epoch underscores the importance of island Southeast Asia in the evolution of the genus Homo." [1]

Wallace Line faunal boundary line separating the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia

The Wallace Line or Wallace's Line is a faunal boundary line drawn in 1859 by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and named by English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, that separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. Wallace noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century.

See also


  1. Technically, they are separated by Huxley's revision of the Wallace Line, which originally was drawn to the east of the Philippines.

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Human evolution Evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of anatomically modern humans

Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates—in particular genus Homo—and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, the great apes. This process involved the gradual development of traits such as human bipedalism and language, as well as interbreeding with other hominins, which indicate that human evolution was not linear but a web.

Homininae Subfamily of mammals

Homininae, also called "African hominids" or "African apes", is a subfamily of Hominidae. It includes two tribes, with their extant as well as extinct species: 1) the Hominini tribe ―and 2) the Gorillini tribe (gorillas). Alternatively, the genus Pan is sometimes considered to belong to its own third tribe, Panini. Homininae comprises all hominids that arose after orangutans split from the line of great apes. The Homininae cladogram has three main branches, which lead to gorillas, and to humans and chimpanzees via the tribe Hominini and subtribes Hominina and Panina. There are two living species of Panina and two living species of gorillas, but only one extant human species. Traces of hypothetical Homo species, including Homo floresiensis and Homo denisova, have been found with dates as recent as 40,000 years ago. Organisms in this subfamily are described as hominine or hominines.

<i>Homo floresiensis</i> Extinct species of the genus Homo

Homo floresiensis is an extinct species in the genus Homo.

Dmanisi Town in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia

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Liang Bua Cave and archaeological site in Indonesia

Liang Bua is a limestone cave on the island of Flores, Indonesia. The site is slightly north of the town of Ruteng in Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara.


Swartkrans is a fossil-bearing cave designated as a South African National Heritage Site, located about 32 km (20 mi) from Johannesburg. It is located in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and is notable for being extremely rich in archaeological material, particularly hominin remains. Fossils discovered in the limestone of Swartkrans include Homo ergaster, Paranthropus and Homo habilis. The oldest deposits present at the site are believed to be between 1.9 and 2.1 million years old.

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Tabon Man Oldest Homo sapiens fossil ever found in the Philippines

Tabon Man refers to remains discovered in the Tabon Caves in Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan in the Philippines. These were discovered by Robert B. Fox, an American anthropologist of the National Museum of the Philippines, on May 28, 1962. These remains, the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone of three individuals, were believed to be the earliest human remains known in the Philippines which date back to 16,500 years ago, until a metatarsal from the Callao Man discovered in 2007 was dated in 2010 by uranium-series dating as being 67,000 years old. The Tabon fragments are collectively called "Tabon Man" after the Tabon Cave, the place where they were found on the west coast of Palawan. Tabon Cave appears to be a kind of Stone Age factory, with both finished stone flake tools and waste core flakes having been found at four separate levels in the main chamber. Charcoal left from three assemblages of cooking fires there has been Carbon-14-dated to roughly 7000, 20,000, and 22,000 BCE.

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<i>Homo erectus</i> Extinct species of the genus Homo

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Denisovan Paleolithic-era taxon of the genus Homo.

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Denisova Cave Cave and archaeological site in Russia

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Rising Star Cave The Rising Star cave system (also known as Westminster or Empire cave) is located in the Malmani dolomites, in Bloubank River valley.

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<i>Homo naledi</i> Ape-like Hominid species.

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Rhinoceros philippinensis is a Pleistocene-aged species of rhinoceros endemic to the Philippine islands. Fossil remains have been found in modern day Metro Manila and Kalinga.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Détroit, F.; Mijares, A. S.; Corny, J.; Daver, G.; Zanolli, C.; Dizon, E.; Robles, E.; Grün, R. & Piper, P. J. (2019). "A new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines". Nature. 568 (7751): 181–186. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1067-9.
  2. Grün, Rainer; Eggins, Stephen; Kinsley, Leslie; Moseley, Hannah & Sambridge, Malcolm (December 2014). "Laser ablation U-series analysis of fossil bones and teeth". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 416: 150–167. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.07.023.
  3. Zimmer, Carl (April 10, 2019). "A New Human Species Once Lived in This Philippine Cave – Archaeologists in Luzon Island have turned up the bones of a distantly related species, Homo luzonensis, further expanding the human family tree". The New York Times . Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  4. 1 2 Wade, L. (April 10, 2019). "New species of ancient human unearthed in the Philippines". Science. 364. doi:10.1126/science.aax6501.
  5. Manalo, Kathryn 2011. Preliminary Identification of Cut Mark Morphology on Animal Bones: Methods & Applications. Master Thesis, University of the Philippines Diliman.
  6. Ingicco, T.; van den Bergh, G. D.; Jago-on, C.; Bahain, J.-J.; Chacón, M. G.; Amano, N.; Forestier, H.; King, C.; Manalo, K.; Nomade, S.; Pereira, A.; Reyes, M. C.; Sémah, A.-M.; Shao, Q.; Voinchet, P.; Falguères, C.; Albers, P. C. H.; Lising, M.; Lyras, G.; Yurnaldi, D.; Rochette, P.; Bautista, A. & de Vos, J. (2018). "Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago". Nature. 557 (7704): 233–237. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0072-8.