Dragon Man Skull
Updated: Nov 26, 2022
I have been researching recent articles on the discovery of what some experts are calling a complete Denisovan skull. In my book, "The Red-Haired Giants of Lovelock Cave & Other Ancient Mysteries," I reference the 2010 archaeological discovery, in southern Siberia, of a 40,000 year-old exceptionally large finger bone of a young female, along with one of the largest human teeth ever found. DNA testing showed the bone fragments were genetically distinct from anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals. Scientists named this new species "Denisovan" after the name of the cave in which the remains were discovered. Given the exceptional size of the Denisovan bone fragments, I explored the possibility that the Denisovans could have been much larger in size than our distant ancestors, resulting in them being identified as "giants" by our ancient ancestors. Given the limited number of Denisovan bone fragments, we did not know what Denisovans looked like. However, since the recent discovery of a Denisovan skull in China, the mystery surrounding the appearance of the Denisovans is coming to light.
The skull was found in China almost 90 years ago when Japanese soldiers were occupying northern China. The soldiers forced a Chinese man to help build a bridge across the Songhua River in Harbin. During construction, the bridge builder uncovered the skull and managed to conceal his find from his Japanese supervisor by wrapping it up, then depositing it in a nearby well.
The bridge builder kept the discovery of the skull secret until he was on his deathbed, before finally revealing the location to his grandchildren, who retrieved it from the well and donated it to the Geoscience Museum at Hebei GEO University. Because the original discoverer died shortly after he revealed the location of the skull, the geological context of the fossil was lost. Several researchers were enlisted to help date the skull, who dated it between 138,000 and 309,000 years old.
Paleontologists named the skull "Dragon Man" (Homo longi- Long means dragon in Mandarin) and they believe it belongs to a sister group species of H. sapiens making it an even closer relative of humans than Neanderthals. Paleoanthropologist Xijun Ni of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hebei GEO University were initially puzzled at the skull: The massive skull had a brain comparable in size to that of modern humans. But it couldn't be a member of H. sapiens because it had larger, almost square eye sockets, thick brow ridges, a wide mouth, and a huge molar (Gibbons, 2021). DNA testing of the skull strongly suggest it was a Denisovan, a close relative of Neanderthals who lived in Denisova Cave in Siberia off and on from 280,000 to 55,000 years ago and left traces of its DNA in modern people.
Analysis of the skull showed it to be closer to early H. sapiens than to Neanderthals who were alive at the same time. Ni says, "It is widely believed that the Neanderthal belongs to an extinct lineage that is the closest relative of our own species. However, our discovery suggests that the new lineage we identified that includes Homo longi is the actual sister group of H. sapiens" (Gibbons, 2021).
Could the "Dragon skull" found in China be Denisovan? If so, were the Denisovans a race of giants who interbred with anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals? Did this mysterious race of hominids spawn the legends of the giants spoken about in most of the ancient cultures throughout the world?
For more information on the Denisovans and ancient giants, please see my book, The Red-Haired Giants of Lovelock Cave & Other Ancient Mysteries.
Gibbons, A. (2021). Stunning 'Dragon Man' skull may be an elusive Denisovan-or a new species of human. Retrieved from https://www.science.org/content/article/stunning-dragon-man-skull-may-be-elusive-denisovan-or-new-species-human