'Dragon Man' skull: our closest relative?

An ancient skull, uncovered decades ago in China, might well be humankind's closest relative...
06 July 2021
Presented by Chris Smith
Production by Phil Sansom.


A human skull.


An ancient skull, uncovered decades ago in China, has recently been revealed to be possibly the closest ever relative to humankind. It’s called “Dragon Man”, and based on trace uranium inside the skull, it’s been dated to at least 146,000 years old - but could well be much older! This puts it at a critical time period in human evolution, when our ancestors were first emerging within Africa. But there’s some disagreement about whether the fossil is from an entirely new species, or is linked to other sets of fossils found in East Asia. Palaeoanthropologist John Hawks, who wasn’t involved in the research, told Phil Sansom the remarkable story of its discovery...


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