The study of prehistoric fiction and fact, and the application of Archeo/Anthropological Criticism to works in "speculative" genres. Joe Lyon Layden is the author of The Oracle of Lost Sagas (2017) and the leader of The Looters Revue Show.
Follow by Email
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
DNA from Ancient Denisovan Tooth Sheds Light on Mysterious Human Relative
The Denisovans are a mysterious hominid species that we only know about from two molar teeth and the bone of a pinky finger discovered in the remote Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. However, DNA extracted from the fossils has opened a window in understanding this ancient species and how it impacted the world tens of thousands of years ago. New research now reveals that far from being a small, isolated population, the Denisovans ranged widely across Asia, even persisting for tens of thousands of years alongside Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, interbreeding with both and creating a complex family tree that scientists are still trying to unravel.
Scientists first discovered that a previously unknown species of early human had lived in Asia when teeth and bone fragments were found in the Denisova cave. DNA analyses revealed that the fossils belonged to a species that was related to, but genetically distinct from, Neanderthals, and which roamed the plains of Siberia long before modern humans arrived.