This article is from
Creation 46(1):46–47, January 2024

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HLD 6—an ancient Chinese skull that’s hard to fit into current evolutionary ideas


Wu Xiujie (IVPP)ancient-chinese-skull
The HLD 6 skull (top) and HLD 6 lower jaw (bottom – in separate view) discovered in Hualongdong, China. From left to right: frontal, left lateral, right lateral, and inferior views.

An ‘ancient’ juvenile human fossil skull (HLD 6) discovered in Hualongdong, China, in 2019 is puzzling evolutionary theorists. The skull is claimed to be 300,000 years old. It is said to be unlike any previously found, and supposedly resembles “neither the lineage that split to form Neanderthals, nor Denisovans, nor us, suggesting our current version of the human family tree needs another branch.”1

Although the authors (Wu et al.) had published previously on the find, this most recent study focused on the lower jaw (mandible).2 They unexpectedly identified a “combination of both archaic and modern human features” in the mandible. So-called archaic humans are generally more robust than moderns; for example, they have more strongly built skulls, often characterized by heavy brow ridges. The human features that are prevalent today tend to involve a less robust set of features, described as more gracile. Wu et al. stated:

The HLD 6 mandible provides further support for the high morphological [i.e., anatomical] diversity during late Middle Pleistocene hominin evolution. With these findings, it is possible that modern human morphologies are present as early as 300 ka and earlier than the emergence of modern humans in East Asia.2

Fossil humans having a combination of supposed ‘archaic’ and ‘modern’ features appears to be a common occurrence; for example, ‘Dragon Man’.3 In their comprehensive overview of the fossil evidence evolutionists Cartmill and Smith found something similar, stating that:

… in southern and northern Africa, East Asia, Australasia, and Europe, early modern populations retained a few morphological characteristics that evidently derived from local archaic peoples.4

However, this does not suggest that more branches (or species) need to be added to the false evolutionary human family tree. Rather, it indicates that the ‘archaic’ humans (e.g., Neanderthals, Denisovans, Homo erectus) and ‘modern’ humans were interbreeding with each other. Thus, by definition they were the same biological species. This is despite the man-made classification into different ‘species’ such as Homo erectus, H. heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, Denisovans, and modern-type Homo sapiens—all fully human.

Even some evolutionist paleoanthropologists have said that some or all of these should be classified as differing subgroups of Homo sapiens. For example, Cartmill and Smith advance the view that all but one of the above categories should be designated as subspecies of H. sapiens.5 They do not give this designation to H. erectus, but within their category of ‘subspecies of Homo sapiens’, they do include some specimens usually regarded as H. erectus, such as the Ngandong (‘Solo Man’) remains.

Such interbreeding can give rise to appearances that are sometimes ‘blended’ in general character—i.e., intermediate between the ‘extremes’. For example, brow ridges that are less prominent than in most ‘archaics’ but more so than in most ‘moderns’. And at other times the appearances will be ‘mosaic’, like the HLD 6 mandible—an individual combining features characteristic of robust and gracile humans.

To come across combinations of features that appear unique, as in this case, is thus not at all surprising.

All of these human groups descended from Adam and Eve—and subsequently from the eight survivors of Noah’s Flood. There may well be more such finds of supposedly ‘unique’ human types which simply represent such different combinations of the various human subgroups.

Posted on homepage: 13 November 2023

References and notes 

  1. Cassella, C., Ancient skull found in China is unlike any human seen before, sciencealert.com, 7 Aug 2023. Return to text.
  2. Wu, X. et al., Morphological and morphometric analyses of a late Middle Pleistocene hominin mandible from Hualongdong, China, J. Human Evolution 182:103411, 2023. Return to text.
  3. Line, P., Dragon Man, Creation 44(1):41, 2022; creation.com/dragon-man. Return to text.
  4. Cartmill, M. and Smith, F.H., The Human Lineage (Second Edn), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, pp. 464–465, 2022. Return to text.
  5. Cartmill and Smith, ref. 4, pp. 467–468. They split up the specimens in, e.g., Homo heidelbergensis by, in addition to designating some of them as H. sapiens heidelbergensis, grouping others as H. sapiens rhodesiensis, etc. Return to text.

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