Genome analysis suggests there was interbreeding between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and an unknown archaic population.
A new study has revealed an incredible discovery: the Denisovans, an ancient ancestor of ours, had a segment of DNA that doesn’t come from any species currently known to science.
This study suggests that there was some pretty serious interbreeding between this ancient human species and the other unknown species approximately 30,000 years ago in Europe and Asia.
Traces of the unknown new genome were detected in two teeth and a finger bone of a Denisovan, which was discovered in a Siberian cave.
There is not much data available about the appearance of Denisovans due to lack of their fossils’ availability, but the geneticists and researchers succeeded in arranging their entire genome very precisely.
“What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type world – that there were many hominid populations,” said Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London.
The question is now: who were these mystery people that the Denisovans were breeding with?
Scientists launched into a flurry of discussion and debate upon hearing the study results and immediately began speculating about what this unknown species could be.
Some have suggested that a group may have branched off to Asia from the Homo heidelbernensis, who resided in Africa about half a million years ago.
They are believed to be the ancestors of Europe’s Neanderthals.
However others, such as Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the London Natural History Museum, admitted that they “don’t have the faintest idea” what the mystery species could be.
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