The remains, dating from the Middle Paleolithic, combine features of Neanderthals and more archaic people: they may have belonged to a still unknown group of ancient Homo who lived in the Middle East.
In 2010, builders mining limestone in central Israel exposed a hole where ancient remains and tools were soon found. In the following years, a team of archaeologists led by Yossi Zaidner excavated, discovering fragments of a skull and almost an entire jaw with a pair of teeth, which were attributed to the same individual and dated to the age of 120-140 thousand years. Scientists presented these findings in an article published in the journal Science.
In the neighborhood were animal bones and stone tools made using the technologies of the Levallois industry, which was widespread in the Middle Paleolithic and is found in the sites of both our immediate ancestors, Homo sapiens, and Neanderthals. However, the remains themselves from the Nesher Ramla locality turned out to be unlike any other hominins.
After carefully examining the morphology of these bones, anthropologists compared them with samples of other ancient representatives of Homo. Scientists noted that they combine both Neanderthal and more archaic features. For example, a powerful jaw and a large molar bring them closer to Neanderthals, and a thick parietal bone rather points to more ancient hominids, which is extremely unexpected for this time and place. Perhaps we are dealing with the remains of a previously unknown group of Homo.
This could be a population of Neanderthals, who inhabited the Middle East, or a separate group, about which nothing is still known. In the Middle Stone Age, between 790 and 130 thousand years ago, numerous populations lived in the space of Africa and Eurasia, of which today we only know about Sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans (although there is some evidence of another type of ancient people).
Perhaps this group, combining Neanderthal and archaic features, was the ancestor for subsequent populations of Neanderthals in Europe and Asia. In this case, the "European" origin of the Neanderthals is in doubt, especially since similar remains, which are difficult to assign with certainty to Neanderthals or Sapiens, are also found in other Israeli localities.
However, Israeli scientists emphasize that while it is impossible to talk about the discovery of new Homo, and the found remains are called simply "a man from Nesher Ramla." One way or another, humanity of the Middle Pleistocene once again appears not in the form of separate, practically not intersecting with each other, species that "divided" the areas of two continents between themselves, but as an extensive and complexly interconnected network of populations coexisting together and exchanging genes and cultural achievements …