Mysterious fossils of what may be a previously unknown type of human have been uncovered in caves in China, ones that possess a highly unusual mix of bygone and modern human features, scientists reveal.
"The discovery of the Red Deer Cave People opens the next chapter in the latest stage of the human evolutionary story, the Asian chapter," Curnoe said.
"After picking my own jaw up from the floor, we decided we had to make the remains a priority of our research." Jutting jaws and flaring cheeks The Stone Age fossils are unusual mosaics of modern and archaic human anatomical features, as well as previously unseen characteristics.
This makes them difficult to classify as either a new species or an unusual type of modern human.
It stayed encased in a block of rock neglected in the basement of an archaeological research institute until 2009, when the international team of scientists rediscovered the fossils.
"In 2009, when I was in China working with co-author Professor Ji Xueping, he showed me the block of rock that contained the skull," Curnoe recalled.
Carbon dating, a technique that estimates the radioactive decay of carbon in samples of charcoal found with the fossils helped establish their age.