Segments in this Video

New Human Species (06:25)


In 1989, miners found ancient-looking human remains in Red Deer Cave, Yunnan. Paleontologist Ji Xueping and anthropologist Darren Curnoe began investigating. The skull had been cut and polished into a container.

Line of Evolution (04:01)

The remains are thought to be approximately 300,000 years old. Before the discovery of Homo Floresiensis, experts thought all other human species had died out by the time modern humans reached Asia. The Red Deer Cave could be one of numerous missing pieces of human evolution.

Red Deer Cave (03:10)

Curnoe and Xueping found well-preserved evidence of human activity during the Stone Age. Cunroe uncovered pottery, meaning the site was not as old as initially thought.

Red Deer Cave Mysteries (05:17)

Curnoe and Xueping studied bags of remains that had been forgotten for years. All the bones were modified or burnt, leading them to believe the site was a crematorium or the people were cannibals. Other bones in the museum collections were similar to those from the cave.

Dating Red Deer Cave (04:16)

Curnoe and Xueping grouped the remains and used carbon dating to determine when they lived; the remains were 14,500-years-old. The cave people lived at the same time as early modern humans and could be a new human species.

Red Deer Cave Environment (08:29)

The Red Deer Cave people have some features of modern humans in addition to primitive features. The extreme isolation of the mountains in Yunnan could have caused groups to develop independent of each other. Scientists are unsure whether they are a separate species.

Red Deer Cave DNA (05:57)

Experts attempt to use ancient DNA technology on the bones of the Red Deer Cave people. Though some scientists believe all modern humans came from Africa, others believe some also came from Asia.

New Species? (04:51)

Cunroe is convinced the Red Deer Cave people are a new species, but Xueping is not sure they have enough evidence. They show their findings to evolutionary scientist Jeffery Schwartz.

Fight for Dominance (05:16)

The existence of the Red Deer Cave people raises the possibility that modern humans interacted with other human species. Modern humans either fought their way to the top or had some advantage over the other species.

Red Deer Cave's Purpose (08:12)

Cultural anthropologists believe the cave was used as a crematorium. Painting bones and making skull cups was previously considered strictly modern human behavior.

Credits: Enigma Man (10:37)

Credits: Enigma Man

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Scientists uncover strange ancient human remains from a remote cave in southwest China and are confronted with a shocking possibility. Could these bones represent a new human species? And if so, what happened to these people? Join the unfolding investigation to unravel their mystery and travel back in time into their Stone Age world.

Length: 67 minutes

Item#: EDP188126

ISBN: 978-1-64623-389-2

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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