Sunday, April 28, 2019

Here comes Homo Luzonensis

In his great essay 'Our Sea of Islands' Epeli Hau'ofa celebrated the journeys of his ancestors, who crossed the Pacific in the light of stars & the wakes of whales. But new data suggests that even Hau'ofa's vision of epic ancient voyaging may have been incomplete.
This month a group of scientists has published proof that a separate human species lived on Luzon Island sixty-seven thousand years ago. The revelation of Homo Luzonensis comes shortly after DNA testing revealed that another human species, the Denisovans, reached ancient Melanesia.
Like the Denisovans, whose DNA can be found in significant quantities in Papuan & western Pacific peoples, Homo Luzonensis successfully crossed large areas of open seas, as they moved east out of mainland Asia. Even during Ice Ages, Luzon has never enjoyed a land bridge to Asia.

The history of the Pacific will now have to be rewritten, so that it includes extinct human species as well as homo sapiens. Not even the visionary Epeli Hau'ofa could have foreseen such a thing, when he wrote 'Our Sea of Islands' in the 1990s.