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See the “Dragon Man”

Plus: Discover the athletic world of giant bullet chess.

HARBIN, CHINA - DECEMBER 18, 2019 - The city of Harbin after a heavy snow, Harbin, Heilongjiang Prov...
Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Chris Stringer, the research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum London, explains the Homo longi, the best example of which is the newly discovered “Dragon Man,” like so:

“If Neanderthals are considered distinct enough to represent a distinct species, then the Harbin group also warrants this.”

The “Harbin group” is named for Harbin City, part of China. Long Jiang also means “dragon river” — and Homo longi has picked up a nickname, the “Dragon Man.”

Every week it seems we are discovering something new about the ancient world thanks to innovative analysis techniques of the evidence — pots and pans but bones as well — that remains. Keep scrolling to learn more about this possible ancient human (and see a photo of what we think he might’ve looked like). It’s the lead story by senior science editor Sarah Sloat.

I’m Nick Lucchesi, editor-in-chief at Inverse, and this is Inverse Daily, an email dispatch of the most essential stories from Inverse, where we blend science and culture with original reporting.

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The Dragon Man’s image is reconstructed in one of the papers, a portrait of a not-unkind-looking man with laugh lines and thin lips.

Chuang Zhao

Dragon Man In a trio of new studies, researchers argue a new ancient human, Homo longi, is an Asian contemporary of Denisovans, Neanderthals, and Homo sapiens. Sarah Sloat has the story on this newly discovered ancestor:

Earth is like a fruitcake — rich, decorated, and filled with unknowable treasures. All that humans have ever been is squished together like candied fruit under the crust.

This is why, in our modern era, girls may pull Viking swords from lakes and farmers can stumble upon woolly mammoths. It’s also why, in 1933 during the construction of a bridge, workers unearthed an unusual ancient skull. Scientists dubbed it the Harbin cranium.

It was a chance discovery, but this massive cranium could completely upend what scientists think they know about modern humans and Neanderthals.

Read the full story.

More headlines from the ancient world:

Boston Globe/Boston Globe/Getty Images

How to not train your dog Pet experts and parents offer advice to keep both your pup and children safe. As always, this one by Tara Yarlagadda is written with a scientific twist:

Whether it’s the science of the relationship between your child and your dog, which dog breeds are best at being around children, or how to make the new relationships work, here’s Inverse’s guide to raising small humans and four-pawed friends together without losing your mind.

Read the full story.

More on the science of pets:

Giant bullet chess in action.

WTF is giant bullet chess? — Danny Rensch is the inventor of giant bullet chess, a version of the game where the pieces are as large as fire hydrants and the time constraints are so tight, players have to run. Emma Betuel has the story:

Danny Rensch gets sweaty when he plays chess. He gets especially sweaty when he plays a version of the game that has chess’s best and brightest dashing around a giant board, doing push-ups on battleground squares, and leaping over a rogue pawn.

Rensch is a CrossFit enthusiast and international master, one level below grandmaster. (The grandmaster title is held by the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Bobby Fischer, or Garry Kasparov.) He is also the inventor of giant bullet chess, a version of the game where the pieces are as large as fire hydrants and the time constraints are so tight, players have to run.

“At the end of the hour of doing it, you’re sweaty and exhausted,” Rensch tells Inverse. “There are a lot of emotionally very intense games.”

Read the full story.

More on the science and innovation of sports:

With the launch of Windows 11, Microsoft is bringing Auto HDR to over 1,000 Game Pass titles from Age of Empires to Rocket League. In other words, the PC version of Game Pass will soon be a bit more similar to its Xbox counterpart.


Could Windows 11 be the future of video games? Windows 11 has officially been revealed, and it could mean big things for gamers. What are DirectStorage and Auto HDR? We’re here to explain. Christopher Groux has the story:

Windows 11 was officially revealed via a Microsoft livestream last week, and it’s clear the link between PC and Xbox has never been stronger.

With help from features like Auto HDR and DirectStorage, Microsoft hopes to ensure its next OS is the center of your gaming life, whether you’re a current Xbox customer or a hardcore PC devotee. Below, we explain what the latest reveals mean for you.

Read the full story.

More gaming & tech headlines:

Musk in January 2020. He marks his 50th birthday today.

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