Temporal range: Late Pleistocene,
Détroit et al., 2019
Homo luzonensis is an extinct species of primitive human in the genus Homo. In 2007, a third metatarsal bone (MT3) was discovered in Callao Cave, Luzon, Philippines by Philip J. Piper and initially identified as modern human by Florent Détroit. This find was dated using uranium series ablation to an age of 66,700 +/- 1000 years before present, while associated faunal remains and a hominin tooth found in 2011 delivered dates of around 50,000 years ago.
In 2019, an article by Florent Détroit et al. in the academic journal Nature described the subsequent discovery of "twelve additional hominin elements that represent at least three individuals that were found in the same stratigraphic layer of Callao Cave as the previously discovered metatarsal" and identified the fossils as belonging to a newly discovered species, Homo luzonensis, on the basis of differences from previously identified species in the genus Homo. This included H. floresiensis and H. sapiens. Some scientists think additional evidence is required to confirm the fossils as a new species, rather than a locally adapted population of other Homo populations, such as H. erectus.
Although the initial hypothesis of human migration to the Philippines proposed the use of land bridges during the last ice age, modern bathymetric readings of the Mindoro Strait and Sibutu Passage suggest that neither would have been fully closed (which correlates with the Philippines being biogeographically separated from Sundaland by Huxley's modification of the Wallace Line, which originally was drawn to the east of the Philippines.the Wallace Line[note 1]). Therefore, the hypothesis at present is that Callao Man and his contemporaries in Luzon arrived from Sundaland by sea crossing.
The small size of the hominin's molars suggest that it may have undergone island dwarfing, similar to H. floresiensis.
Together with the human fossils, animals remains of deer (Cervus mariannus), wild pig, and an extinct species of Bovinae.
The 2019 Nature article describing H. luzonensis noted that: "The presence of another and previously unknown hominin species east of the Wallace Line during the Late Pleistocene epoch underscores the importance of island Southeast Asia in the evolution of the genus Homo."