Archaeologists find 140,000-year-old skull fragments in Israel: they belonged to an unknown species

Maria Tsikhotska

Archaeologists find 140,000-year-old skull fragments in Israel: they belonged to an unknown species
Skull fragments

Archaeologists have discovered two skull fragments in Israel that may belong to a previously unknown population of ancient hominins. The discovery was made at the Nesher Ramla archaeological site, located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

This is reported by IFL.Science.

The fragments, the right parietal bone and an almost complete lower jaw, are unlike any other fossils that have been found before. Researchers believe they belong to a late Homo population that lived 140,000-120,000 years ago.

A unique feature of the fossils from Nesher Ramla is that they combine Neanderthal and archaic human features. The parietal bone has "archaic" features distinct from early and recent Homo sapiens, and the jawbone is a mixture of archaic and Neanderthal characteristics. This hybrid nature suggests that this species may be the missing link that represents one of the last common ancestors of Neanderthals and humans.

Furthermore, the fossils from Nesher Ramla suggest that these hominins had a long and dynamic history of interaction with Homo sapiens. Through genetic and cultural exchange, these populations left an indelible mark on each other. Archaeological findings from the site point to an important crossroads between Africa and Eurasia, adding to the weight of importance of this discovery.

Read also: A 1500-year-old Byzantine lamp was discovered in Israel near the border with Gaza (photo)

Not all experts agree that the find from Nesher Ramla is revolutionary. Paleoanthropologist John Hawkes offers an alternative explanation, suggesting that the fossils may be related to Denisovans, another archaic hominid population. Hawkes emphasizes the need to be cautious, recognizing the difficulty of interpreting data from a time span of 400,000 years.

As of today, the true nature of the fossils from Nesher Ramla remains unknown. Future research will play a crucial role in unraveling this mystery, shedding more light on the complex web of human evolution.

As a reminder, a meter-long sword was found in a medieval grave in Sweden.