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Following Homo luzonensis discovery, Philippines put under int'l spotlight

After last year's announcement of the discover of the Homo luzonensis in Callao Cave, Cagayan, the Philippines was put under international spotlight, Jeremy Barns, director-general of the National Museum of the Philippines said.

Discovered by a Pinoy-led team of archeologists, the H. luzonensis is the oldest member of the genus Homo to live on the archipelago. It even predates the Homo sapiens, whose remains were found on Palawan island.

"We found ourselves in that kind of international spotlight that findings of this importance truly merit. What gratified us most is that the belief that the Philippines was important, even crucial to the study of early humans, given its geographical location...and its archipelagic character," he said.

Barns made this statement in his welcome message during the first day of the "International Homo luzonensis conference and the Hominin Record of Southeast Asia" held at UP Diliman on Monday.

According to the National Museum director, interest in archeology, paleontology and paleoanthropology has increased since the publication of the discovery of the H. luzonensis.

READ: Homo luzonensis: What we know about the newly discovered human species

Dr. Armand Mijares, the Pinoy archaeologist who led the team that discovered the bones and teeth of the H. luzonensis, said in a conference talk that they would begin the fifth season of excavations — with a record number of volunteers — next week.

"I have my core team, but there are more volunteers coming in. In 2011 and 2015, we were about 15 to 18. But most of [the volunteers] were Europeans. At this time, most are Filipinos....I think we'll peak at around thirty this year," Mijares said in an interview with GMA News Online.

He observed that there were more Filipino volunteers who wanted to help out in the 6-week excavation.



According to the UP-based archeologist, he and his team are hoping to find more bones and stone tools this time.