Volume 568 Issue 7751, 11 April 2019

Out of Asia

The cover shows two molars from a newly discovered hominin species named Homo luzonensis. Described in this issue by Florent Détroit, Armand Mijares, Philip Piper and their colleagues, H. luzonensis lived on the island of Luzon in the Philippines prior to 50,000 years ago. The partial remains of at least three individuals, consisting of teeth, several foot and hand bones, and a partial femur, were uncovered by the researchers in Callao Cave. These bones add to a single foot bone found in the cave in 2007 and dated to 67,000 years ago, allowing the team to make a formal diagnosis of the new species. Alongside Homo floresiensis, the dwarf hominin discovered on Flores in Indonesia, the discovery of H. luzonensis underscores the significance of island populations in southeast Asia in the evolution of the genus Homo. Although the two species were different, their situations were possibly similar: relics of populations of earlier hominins marooned on remote islands and following their own evolutionary trajectories.

Cover image: Callao Cave Archaeology Project

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