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Genetic Study May Reveal Hominin Interactions

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Denisovan Neanderthal girlLEIPZIG, GERMANY—According to a BBC News report, analysis of DNA recovered from a 50,000-year-old bone fragment unearthed in Russia’s Denisova Cave suggests that it belonged to a teenage girl who had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. The study also indicates the mother was more closely related to Neanderthal populations in Europe than to the Neanderthals who had previously lived in Denisova Cave, which is located in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. This suggests that Neanderthals migrated between western and eastern Eurasia. The girl’s Denisovan father also had at least one Neanderthal ancestor. Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) said that Neanderthals and Denisovans may not have had many opportunities to meet, but when they did, they probably mated more frequently than had been previously thought. “Out of this very little number we find one individual that is half-and-half mixed ancestry,” explained Viviane Slon, also of MPI-EVA. For more on the study of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA, go to “Caveman Genetics.”

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