Mysterious 'Third Species' Of Caveman Discovered

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PostWed Nov 02, 2011 5:26 pm » by Savwafair2012

•Denisovans spread DNA throughout Southeast Asia, study confirms

•Experts examined genes from 1,500 modern humans from across the world

•Southeast Asians had higher proportion of Denisovan-related gene variants

Humans frequently mated with a mysterious 'third species' of early man whose ancestors can be found in present-day East Asian populations, a study has confirmed.

The group, called the Denisovans, is known only by a few bone fragments - a finger, tooth and possibly a toe - which were found in Siberia last year.

The archaic hominin species lived in the Russian region some 40,000 years ago.


This tooth, thought to have come from a five to seven-year-old child, were the first evidence of the existence of Denisovans - now thought to be a crucial 'key' to tracing man's evolution

Researchers already knew that ancient humans mated with Neanderthals, but they have also found genetic echoes of the Denisovans in modern residents of Pacific islands, including New Guinea and the Philippines.

The Denisovans likely split off from the Neanderthal branch of the hominin family tree about 300,000 years ago, but little else is known about their appearance, behaviour or dress.

The new research expands the Denisovan genetic influence, uncovering Denisovan genes in modern East Asian populations.

The genetic signal is less strong than it is in the Oceanic islands such as the Philippines, according to study researcher Mattias Jakobsson, a professor of evolutionary biology at Uppsala University in Sweden.

The genetic similarities to Denisovans are strongest in southern China and Southeast Asia

Dr Jakobsson told LiveScience: 'We are actually finding gene flow in Southeast Asia, so it's not restricted to the Oceanian parts of the world.'

At first, Dr Jakobsson and his colleagues ran computer simulations of genetic data to understand how the limited gene information collected in population genetics research, which includes just segments of DNA, might be biased.

With that understanding, the group then examined genetic data from more than 1,500 modern humans from all over the world. ... z1cW6pCkSl
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