A brand new article from New York reports that human remains recently discovered in Siberia have delivered a DNA surprise. And, apparently the person traveled far from his/her place of origin.
The existence of this new human relative was first revealed just nine months ago from a sampling of DNA recovered from a finger bone found in the Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. Researchers offered the informal name “Denisovans” for them in Thursday’s issue of the journal “Nature”, where the results are reported.
Scientists have found that these “Denisovans”, who roamed the earth more than 30,000 years ago roamed across Asia and apparently interbred with the ancestors of people now living in Melanesia (a group of islands northeast of Australia). At least 5% of the Melanesians DNA can be traced to “Denisovans”.
There is no DNA evidence showing that the “Denisovans” mixed with the ancestors of people now living in Eurasia and this made the connection between Siberia and distant Melanesia a shock.
Seven months ago the same scientists used a Neanderthal genome to show that they interbred with ancestors of today’s non-African populations.
Researchers said that there’s still not enough evidence to determine whether “Denisovans” are a distinct species.
Here’s the link to the complete article written by AP science writer Malcolm Ritter: