Ancient Chinese skull has Neanderthal-like inner ears

There is another add-on to the already so complex area of human evolution. Four ancient skulls were unearthed in different parts of China and research shows that one of the 100,000 years old skull specimen features the inner ear structure similar to that of Neanderthals that lived in Eurasia from 200,000 to 30,000 years ago.

The inner structure setup is so important part of the whole evolution theory because the inner ear is the "labyrinth" within the skull's temporal bone. It houses the mechanism that converts sound waves into electrical signals a brain can understand. This helps humans keep their balance.

The Neanderthals or Neandertals are an extinct species of human in the genus Homo. Modern humans have only 0.12%.differing in DNA from the Neandertals. The lines that distinguish between Neanderthals of Eurasia and the archaic humans of ancient China get exceptionally fuzzy after this new found research.

It was expected that the Chinese skull scan will reveal a temporal labyrinth that looked much like a modern human one but instead the scan showed results that were similar to the inner ears of the Neanderthal.

Study co-author Erik Trinkaus who is an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis argued in this latest research that mixing and matching of various genetic traits between the two ancient groups shows that different groups of modern humans routinely interbred.

This research was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.