According to article published in the journal PLoS may be a previously unknown human
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species have been identified in southern China. The bones, which represent at least five individuals, have been dated to between 11,500 and 14,500 years ago. But scientists are calling them simply the Red Deer Cave people, after one of the sites where they were unearthed. As said study co-leader Darren Curnoe from the University of New South Wales, Australia they are trying to be very careful at this stage about definitely classifying them. Much of the material has been in Chinese collections for some time but has only recently been subjected to intense investigation. The remains of some of the individuals come from Maludong (or Red Deer Cave), near the city of Mengzi in Yunnan Province. A further skeleton was discovered at Longlin, in neighbouring Guangxi Province. The skulls and teeth from the two locations are very similar to each other, suggesting they are from the same population. But their features are quite distinct from what you might call a fully modern human, says the team. Instead, the Red Deer Cave people have a mix of archaic and modern characteristics. In general, the individuals had rounded brain cases with prominent brow ridges. Their skull bones were quite thick. Their faces were quite short and flat and tucked under the brain, and they had broad noses. Dr Curnoe and colleagues put forward two possible scenarios in their PLoS One paper for the origin of the Red Deer Cave population. One posits that they represent a very early migration of a primitive-looking Homo sapiens that lived separately from other forms in Asia before dying out. Another possibility contends that they were indeed a distinct Homo species that evolved in Asia and lived alongside our own kind until remarkably recently. Whatever their true place in the Homo family tree, the Red Deer People are an important find simply because of the dearth of well dated, well described specimens from this part of the world.