When the researchers realized that the recovered bones were not from Neanderthals or Homo sapiens, they began to investigate the possibility that they were among the last survivors of an ancient population that they believed left hundreds of people behind. thousands of people extinct. Years ago.
“We researched other members of this group and found that some of the fossils previously found at other prehistoric sites in Israel, including the Kesem cave, belonged to the same group,” Hershkowitz said.
“So we realized that we were dealing with a huge population that lives in the region and probably also migrated in different directions, including Asia and Europe, and later became the people we know as Neanderthals. “
“They were culturally and biologically involved,” he said. “In Europe, the story was completely different because when modern humans got there around 45,000 years ago, they wiped out the local Neanderthals completely. It did not happen here.
He added: “We believe that some of the fossils that we later found in many caves dating back 100,000 years may have belonged to the sapiens lineage and the Ramla distribution.”
For example, in the cave of Qafzeh in the Lower Galilee, archaeologists have found the remains of many people who represent the characteristics of the two species, some closer to sapiens, others to Nesher Ramla.
“It’s similar to what happens when we see that some children look like their mothers and others look like their fathers,” Hershkowitz noted.
Scientists have failed to extract DNA from fossils.
“Hot weather damages DNA,” Hershkowitz said. “In Israel, we couldn’t find any DNA that survived 15,000 years ago. “
The researchers’ conclusions are therefore based on the morphology of the bones found.
“People think of models,” said Dr. Rachel Sarrig. For this reason, attempts have been made to attribute these fossils to known human groups such as Homo sapiens, Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis or Neanderthals. But now we say: no, this is a group in itself, which has distinctive traits and characteristics.
In the past, geneticists have suggested that an unknown group represented the missing link between sapiens and Neanderthals, another researcher, Dr. Hey May. The people of Nesher Ramleh may be the answer.
She added: “As a crossroads between Africa, Europe and Asia, the Land of Israel was a melting pot of different human groups with each other, to later spread across the world. antique. “The Discovery of Nature Ramla is writing a wonderful new chapter in the history of mankind.”