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“Latest findings overturn the ‘European’ account of human evolution”

Juan Luis Arsuaga, during a speech (Photo: GSRGTRES)

A step or two closer to understanding the origin of the human being. The discovery of fossils belonging to a primitive human, of Neanderthal descent, who lived at least until 130,000 years ago at the Nesher Ramla site (Israel) has opened new avenues to anthropological knowledge.

A few hours later, another no less disruptive news broke out: Chinese scientists presented in society their study on a new human species known as ‘Homo Longi’ or ‘Dragon Man’.

It is not a revolution, but it is a point of no return for what it means, the paleoanthropologist Juan Luis Arsuaga, doctor in Biological Sciences and professor of Paleontology at the UCM and co-director of Atapuerca, tells HuffPost. An eminence in the sector who has participated, along with other Spanish researchers and Israeli teams, in the work published in the journal Science and that has been covered in the mainstream media.

He points out that, thanks to the discovery in Israel, it is known that the evolution of Neanderthals and sapiens was in parallel, but not as independent as previously believed. And that, together with the work in China, opens his eyes against a “European vision” of human evolution: Neanderthals not only come from the so-called Old Continent.

“It’s not a small thing,” Arsuaga says with a laugh.

What does the find in Nesher Ramla mean, in your opinion?

It is a very important step because it clarifies part of human evolution. The study authors have diverse interpretations of how these fossils fit into history. Mine is that this find completes the picture of human evolution in Israel, a small but important territory.

With the fossils, a vault …

This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.

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