Fossilized remains unearthed from caves in China indicate the existence of a new human species that had darker skin, a thicker skull and an apparent penchant for venison, scientists claimed.
Dubbed the “Red Deer Cave People” because of evidence suggesting copious amounts of deer were cooked in the caves, the remains do not bear a close resemblance to those from modern humans, the U.K. Guardian newspaper reported.
With their jutting jaws, large molar teeth, flat faces, broad noses and prominent brows, the Red Deer Cave people may represent a new evolutionary line, according to Darren Curnoe, who led the research team that studied the remains.
“They look very different to all modern humans, whether alive today or in Africa 150,000 years ago," Curnoe told the Guardian. "In short, they're anatomically unique among all members of the human evolutionary tree.”
In addition to their mix of ancient and modern features, Discovery.com reported the Red Deer Cave People also preferred to eat deer.
Bones of an extinct species of giant red deer were found in abundance along with antler tools, according to National Geographic.
"They clearly had a taste for venison, with evidence they cooked these large deer in the cave," Curnoe told the Guardian.
The fossils were first excavated in 1989 from the Maludong Cave in Yunnan province in China, but hadn’t been studied until now.