Humans Bred with Unknown Species

Humans Bred with Unknown Species

Humans Bred with Unknown Species

A new study presented to the Royal Society meeting on ancient DNA in London last week has revealed a dramatic finding – the genome of one of our ancient ancestors, the Denisovans, contains a segment of DNA that seems to have come from another species that is currently unknown to science. The discovery suggests that there was rampant interbreeding between ancient human species in Europe and Asia more than 30,000 years ago. But, far more significant was the finding that they also mated with a mystery species from Asia – one that is neither human nor Neanderthal. 

Scientists launched into a flurry of discussion and debate upon hearing the study results and immediately began speculating about what this unknown species could be.  Some have suggested that a group may have branched off to Asia from the Homo heidelbernensis, who resided in Africa about half a million years ago. They are believed to be the ancestors of Europe’s Neanderthals. 

However others, such as Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the London Natural History Museum, admitted that they “don’t have the faintest idea” what the mystery species could be.

Traces of the unknown new genome were detected in two teeth and a finger bone of a Denisovan, which was discovered in a Siberian cave. There is not much data available about the appearance of Denisovans due to lack of their fossils’ availability, but the geneticists and researchers succeeded in arranging their entire genome very precisely.

“What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type world – that there were many hominid populations,” Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London.

The question is now: who were these mystery people that the Denisovans were breeding with?

 

Source:  ancient-origins.net

Unearthed remains 167 Mexicans discovered

Authorities find remains of 167 people in southern Mexico:

tombstone-hope

tombstone-hope

Authorities have found the remains of 167 people, believed to be at least 50 years old, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, officials said.  The remains were discovered inside a cave on the Nuevo Ojo de Agua ranch, and show no visible signs of violence, according to a statement from state prosecutors  Studies will be done to determine the age, sex and cause of death of each person, it read. The prosecutors promised not to rule out “any line of investigation.”  Though the remains are thought to be more than half a century old, the discovery is still sure to attract attention in a country where mass graves have been unearthed in recent years.  The bodies of 72 migrants from Central and South America were discovered at a ranch in northern Mexico in August 2010. In the same area, authorities found mass graves last year, containing the remains of nearly 200 people. They began finding the graves while investigating the kidnappings of bus passengers.