9. The Unknown Human
When found in 2007 and 2014 respectively, two skulls created a buzz. Both were extracted from China’s Lingjing site in the Henan province. They belonged to the same strange species: a modern human with Neanderthal features.
Similar to people today, the pair owned reduced brow lines, slight cranial vaults, and big brains. However, semicircular ear canals and a thicker skull at the back were Neanderthal. Additionally, the low broad brain case was a trait of early eastern Eurasian humans.
Scientists involved in the study feel it’s an unknown human branch, but others suggest these are the first Denisovan skulls. Related to Neanderthals, all that’s ever been found of them is a finger bone and teeth. Living Chinese also have 0.1 percent Denisovan DNA. The Lingjing skulls are too ancient to yield the DNA sample that can solved this mystery. Aged 105,000–125,000 years old, they do provide an opportunity to study human evolution in eastern Eurasia. It’s likely that an unidentified archaic group lived alongside Neanderthals and modern humans, interbred, and passed down a mixed heritage for generations.