You know when Paleoanthropologists comes across fossil remains of ancient hominins that don’t fit the nice little theories they tend to become rather upset and sometimes even vicious! One would think with all of the mystery skulls found that just don’t fit into our scheme of things that they’d modify their theories and tweak them a bit. But guess what? NO DICE! No it’s much simpler to just pass them off as nothing or ignore them instead because tweaking a theory might offend someone’s status GOD FORBID!
The latest mystery skull comes to us from Lukenya Hill in Kenya, Africa and it’s dated at 20Kya. Actually it was discovered in the 1970’s and, as expected, it was stored away in a collection at a museum and in this case that museum is the National Museums of Kenya in Nairobi. Archaeologist Christian Tryon of Harvard’s Peabody Museum and colleagues decided to revisit the skull and take some measurements. What they found was surprising. Anatomically the skull is one of a modern human, H. sapien, but it has features that are different from skulls found in Europe and Africa from the same time frame. Tryon believes the skull reflects ancient and original diversity that modern humans have since lost and he believes it is likely from an extinct lineage.
Really? I think not! More than likely it is from a lineage that was assimilated into H. sapiens in Africa in light of the fact that our ancient human ancestor species often coexisted and interbred with each other. If I had to guess I’d say this skull is the offspring of someone with a H. sapien parent and a H. heidelbergensis parent. The skull has features of both species and if the one parent wasn’t H. heidelbergensis then I’d say it was H. erectus.
The skull belongs to a H. sapien that was alive during the last Ice Age. The skull is thickened which could be the result of damage (head trauma), malnutrition, or a host of other reasons. Tryon does not believe it is from an unknown sub-species of H. sapiens.
Frankly, I think there were MANY hominin species that we don’t yet know about across this globe! To think that we have all of our little fishes nicely in proper order is laughable! We don’t! We’re STILL looking for that mystery parent of the Denisovans who mated with Siberian Neanderthals that produced the Denisovans btw.
Stone blades, beads, and Ostrich eggshells were also found with the skull. The stone blades are known as Levallois Technology which are dated between 22Kya and 46Kya. That period saw a rapid advance in human development as people were manufacturing and trading various goods and they were more frequently using and establishing trade routes as well. The lightweight stone points and blades are similar to those found in Egyptian tombs dating around 4Kya.