Archaeologists were taken aback when skeletal DNA revealed a hitherto unknown human tribe.
The discovery of a 7,200-year-old skeleton belonging to an undiscovered human tribe has stunned archaeologists.
The bones belonged to a female hunter-gatherer from Indonesia’s Wallacea Islands, whose unique human lineage had never been observed anywhere else in the world.
It was discovered in a limestone cave named Leang Panninge in South Sulawesi as a relatively intact fossil of a 17 or 18-year-old buried in the foetal position. It was discovered alongside other artefacts from the Toalean people, an early group of hunter-gatherers from this region of the world.
However, this is the first Toalean skeleton ever discovered.
The excavation began in 2015, and the results were published in the journal Nature in a research.
The research was carried out by Indonesian and international researchers in partnership.
“This is the first time anyone has reported the discovery of ancient human DNA from the wide island region between mainland Asia and Australia,” said Adam Brumm, an archaeologist at the Australian Project Centre for Human Evolution at Griffith University in Brisbane, who co-led the research.
Because DNA is rapidly damaged in humid tropics, it can be difficult to complete excavations in places like this.
“It is extremely rare to uncover ancient human DNA in the wet tropics – that is why this is such a fortunate discovery,” Mr. Brumm added.
The woman belonged to a population group that is related to modern-day Indigenous Australians and Papuans, according to DNA tests.
Another traces of the Denisovans, an extinct human group, were found in her genome.
The majority of the fossils that prove that these individuals existed come from Siberia and Tibet.
However, the genome of this recently discovered skeleton was related to a previously unknown divergent human lineage that had never been uncovered before.
Previous assumptions concerning the arrival timing of different human populations in this region have been challenged by this discovery.
“This demonstrates how little we know about the early human story in Indonesia’s Wallacean islands,” Mr Brumm said.
“Archaeologists have given the name ‘Toaleans’ to a fairly puzzling prehistoric hunter-gatherer civilisation that flourished in the forested plains and mountains of South Sulawesi between around 8,000 and.”Brinkwire Summary News”.