News Oct 30, 2020
| Original story from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
In a new study, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences present an analysis of the genome of the oldest human fossil found in Mongolia to date. They show that the 34,000-year-old female inherited around 25 percent of her DNA from western Eurasians, demonstrating that people moved across the Eurasian continent shortly after it had first been settled by the ancestors of present-day populations. The study also shows that this individual as well as a 40,000-year-old individual from China carried DNA from Denisovans, an extinct form of hominins that inhabited Asia before modern humans arrived.In 2006, miners discovered a hominin skullcap with peculiar morphological features in the Salkhit Valley of the Norovlin county in eastern Mongolia. It was initially referred to as Mongolanthropus and thought to be a Neandertal or even a Homo erectus. The remains of the âSalkhitâ individual represent the only Pleistocene hominin fossil found in the country.Ancient DNA extracted from the skullcap shows that it belonged to a female modern human who lived 34,000 ago and was more related to Asians than to Europeans. Comparisons to the only other early East Asian individual genetically studied to date, a 40,000-year-old male from Tianyuan Cave outside Beijing (China), show that the two individuals are related to each other. However, they differ insofar that a quarter of the ancestry of the Salkhit individual derived from western Eurasians, probably via admixture with ancient Siberians.âThis is direct evidence that modern human communities in East Asia were already quite cosmopolitan earlier than 34,000 years agoâ, says Diyendo Massilani, lead author of the study and researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. âThis rare specimen shows that migration and interactions among populations across Eurasia happened frequently already some 35,000 years agoâ.The researchers used a new method developed at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology to find segments of DNA from extinct hominins in the Salkhit and Tianyuan genomes. They found that the two genomes contain not only Neandertal DNA but also DNA from Denisovans, an elusive Asian relative of Neandertals. âIt is fascinating to see that the ancestors of the oldest humans in East Asia from whom we have been able to obtain genetic data had already mixed with Denisovans, an extinct form of hominins that has contributed ancestry to present-day populations in Asia and Oceaniaâ, says Byambaa Gunchinsuren, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. âThis is direct evidence that Denisovans and modern humans had met and mixed more than 40,000 years agoâ.âInterestingly, the Denisovan DNA fragments in these very old East Asians overlap with Denisovan DNA fragments in the genomes of present-day populations in East Asia but not with Denisovan DNA fragments in Oceanians. This supports a model of multiple independent mixture events between Denisovans and modern humansâ, says Massilani.This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.
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Denisovan, Neanderthal, Human, Hominini, Denisova Cave, Genome, Tibetan Plateau
World news – GB – Denisovan DNA Found in the Genome of Early East Asians