Excavations at the Israeli site of Nesher Ramla have recovered a skull that represents a late surviving example of the distinct homo population which lived in and around modern-day Israel from about 420,000 to 120,000 years ago.
As per researchers Israel Herskovitz and Yossi Zaidner, this archaic human community traded both their genes and culture with nearby homo sapien groups nearly thousands of years ago. Close analysis of fossils reveals that it neither belongs to homo sapiens nor neanderthal which was the only type of human species estimated to have been living in the region at the time.
The study suggests that the fossils found at other Israeli sites including the famous "lady of tabun" might also be part of this new human population, contrary to the previous studies. "Lady of Tabun" was discovered in 1932 by famous pioneering archaeologist Yusra and her field director, Dorothy Garrod.
The mysterious Nesher Ramla excavations may even represent our most common ancestor with neanderthals. Its mixed traits support genetic evidence of gene flow between homo sapiens and neanderthals about 400,000 to 200,000 years ago.
Surprisingly, the team also found a collection of some 6,000 stone tools at the site which shows similarity with that of homo sapiens tool-making, which suggests that Nesher Ramla homo and homo sapiens were often exchanging tools and technology.