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Finger Bone points the way to the discovery of Denisovan DNA Secrets



Denisovan's fossil finger reveals secrets about this extinct race from the Stone Age.

A decade ago, scientists excavated the Denisova Cave, an ancient archaeological site in southern Siberia, and discovered fossils of an unknown group of ancient people. Nature reported in February this year how DNA preserved in bone of a finger was discovered and that this remote shelter was "one of the most important archeological sites in the world."

  Denisova Cave: Soloneshenski Region, obl. Altai Territory (Demin Alexei Barnaul / CC BY SA 4.0)

Denisova Cave: Solonesha District, Altai Territory (Demin Alexei Barnaul / CC BY SA 4.0 )

A 2012 Science News the article says that the bone of the pinks contains "the first known Denisov DNA" and now a team of researchers led by paleogeneticist E. Andrew Bennett of the University of Paris at Didro has identified "the rest" of approximately 13 – bone on the finger of Denisovan's wife. And according to a new paper published on September 4 in Science Advances "Unexpectedly," this ancient finger looks more human than the Neanderthal, scientists say. Anthropologists now know that Denizovans inhabited areas of Asia 300,000 to 50,000 years ago, and in a report in to Harez Prof. Eva-Maria Gagel of the Jacques Monod Institute, University of Paris explains: "Denisans fingers were as graceful as those of modern humans, he explains, not stubborn figures with blunt edges like those of their sister-type Neanderthals. "

  Replica of a fragment of bone of Denisovan's finger, originally discovered in Denisova Cave in 2008. (Thilo Parg / CC BY SA 3.0)

Replica of a fragment of bone of finger of Denisovan, originally discovered in Denisova's Cave through 2008 (Thilo Parg / CC BY SA 3.0)

Travelers of ancient planes

The newly identified finger fossil was recovered from Denisova Cave by Russian scientists in 2008 and belongs to the type of archaic man who he is neither Neanderthal nor Homo sapiens . It was the only fragment of the species known to science, until in 1945 it was reported that in May [19459005г] a jawbone of Denisovan was discovered 2400 kilometers (about 1500 miles) from the Siberian Cave on the Tibetan Plateau.

The new paper reports that scientists are "cutting the sample in two" and sending the pieces to separate DNA research teams for independent testing. One part was sent to the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the other to the Jagel Laboratory at the University of Berkeley, where its team joined forces with researchers from the University of Bordeaux and the University of Toronto.

Mitochondrial DNA is usually inherited from the mother, and the Bennett group discovers that the mitochondrial DNA extracted from one finger matches that of the other, confirming that the bones come from the same female. Compared to the Neanderthals and H omo sapiens specimens, the size and shape of the entire bone of the Denisovan folder fall within the scope of measures for "ancient and modern humans, not for Neanderthals," the researchers. Genetic DNA studies suggest that proto-Neanderthals and precursors – Homo sapiens split about 700,000 years ago, and that the birthplace of Neanderthals in Europe about 400 000 years ago years in the Neanderthals of the West and the Denizovans of the East. Neanderthals and Denisovans are believed to exist in the Denisova Cave, as evidenced by the fact that archaeologists have identified a 90,000-year-old bone belonging to a first-generation hybrid teenager, Neanderthal-Denis.

  This bone fragment ("Denisova 11") was found in 2012 in the Denisova Cave in Russia and represents the daughter of a Neanderthal mother and the father of Denisovan. (T. Higham / University of Oxford)

This bone fragment ("Denisova 11") was found in 2012 in the Denisova Cave in Russia and is the daughter of a Neanderthal mother and father of Denisovan. (T. Higham / University of Oxford )

The artifacts and remains found in the Denisova Cave are considered to be the oldest in Europe, but they were compared earlier. this year with the discovery of teeth dating back to 200,000 BC in the Yanghui Cave in Tongzi, southern China. A report from Science Direct states that Tongzi's teeth "do not conform to the morphological model of classical H. erectus" meaning that they are not from Homo erectus or Neanderthals. This, the scientists said, broadens our understanding of the "morphological diversity of Asian mid-Pleistocene hominins" and that more than one paleoedema existed in East Asia during this period.

Where did they come from, where did they go?

Scientists debate the fate of the Denisovans, and as new data gather, some researchers travel to new territory. In April this year, Ancient Origins reviewed a new book by Denisovan Origins: Goebbeck Tepe, Hybrid Humans, and the Genesis of the Ancients of Ancient America, showing how the Siberian denizens had "a huge influence on the spread traditions of the Upper Paleolithic. "While most scientists would agree that this impact has affected the south and east of Siberia to the west of the Atlantic coast of Europe, the authors of this book suggest that they may have found a way in America.

While researchers and scientists argue about what happened to the denizens and where they went, the question of where they came from still seems at first glance so far beyond our reach.

Image above: Early hominin works with tools. (procy_ab / AdobeStock)

By Ashley Cowie


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