Cultural Properties Regulation Division
National Museum Hosts Lecture on Homo luzonensis with Dr. Armand Mijares
The National Museum (NM) conducted a lecture regarding the newly named hominin Homo luzonensis on May 6, 2019. The lecture was spearheaded by Dr. Armand Mijares, an archaeologist from the University of the Philippines, who led the international multidisciplinary team in the discovery of the ancient species believed to have lived on the island of Luzon around 50,000 to 67,000 years ago.
During his welcome remarks, NM Director Jeremy R. Barns expressed his gratitude to Dr. Mijares as well as to Dr. Eusebio Dizon, Curator I of the NM’s Archaeology Division, for having the time to share their knowledge and experiences regarding the said research breakthrough.
Together with Dr. Dizon, Dr. Mijares discussed the Homo luzonensis project that resulted to the unearthing of the fossils of the small-bodied hominin in Callao Cave in Peñablanca, Cagayan.
Enthused by the remarkable discovery of Homo floresiensis in Indonesia in 2003, the UP archaeologist said that his team continued its excavation activity in Callao Cave where they unveiled a foot bone which was initially linked to a small-bodied member of Homo sapiens.
Dr. Mijares added that twelve more bones from three different individuals were uncovered in 2011 and 2015, strengthening the group’s idea that the fossils belong to a new species. These bones include a partial femur, two hand phalanges, two feet phalanges, and seven teeth, which suggest that the species stood at less than four feet tall. He also explained that Homo luzonensis might had been adept both at climbing trees and walking upright on the ground due to its curved toe and finger bones.
Dr. Mijares took pride with their project, adding that this recent scientific headway is dedicated to the Filipino nation.
A more comprehensive detail regarding the discovery of Homo luzonensis can be read in Nature, an international research journal with the title “A new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines”.
Dr. Mary Jane Louise A. Bolunia, Curator II of the Archaeology Division, concluded the program by extending her congratulations to Dr. Mijares, Dr. Dizon and their colleagues for the success of their project. She also thanked the audience, which consisted of officers from different divisions of National Museum, representatives of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and others researchers, for their active participation during the lecture.