New DNA Study: Denisovan Genome Shows Humans Bred With Unknown Species

More than 30,000 years ago Denisovans bred with another extinct species that lived in Asia. A genome from a Neanderthal and another from an archaic human population called Denisovans were discussed at and ancient DNA meeting at the Royal Society in London. 

EXTINCT HYBRID DNA SHOWS HUMANS BRED WITH UNKNOWN SPECIES

This showed that interbreeding in Europe and Asia more than 30,000 was more common than previously believed. More importantly, it also showed that there was another unknown human ancestor.

This study has revolutionized the study of ancient human history because it is now clear that these ancient human beings bread with anatomically modern humans leading to the genetic diversity we see today.

2% of the genome of modern humans whose ancestry originates from outside of Africa, can be traced to Neanderthals and people were living in Oceania have 4% DNA similarity with Denisovans. Although this study could potentially rewrite everything, we know about our DNA and ancestral heritage it has been criticized by David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School. He believes this study is based on low-quality genome sequence and contains masses of errors. His team has developed a more specific version of Denisovan and Neandertal genomes that are based on bones discovered in Denisova Cave.

An excavation in Denisova cave in Siberia, Russia, where remains of Denisovan hominins were first discovered.

Although Reich criticized the original study, his study has also shown that Denisovans interbred with populations around Europe and East Asia but more importantly, they bred with an unknown population that is not or Neanderthal. Currently, scientists are still not able to identify this mystery species, although there is belief that the species could be linked to Homo heidelbergensis, a species of human that existed half a million years ago. This is an extremely important find and shows that humans may not have evolved the way previously thought by scientists.

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