Publicado: Sáb, Agosto 25, 2018
Salud | Por Gertrudes Rodriquez

Meet Denisova 11: First Known Hybrid Hominin

Meet Denisova 11: First Known Hybrid Hominin

That a direct offspring of the two ancient humans was found among the first few fossil genomes recovered from the cave suggests, Pääbo says, "that when these groups met, they actually mixed quite freely with each other".

Scientists say they've found the remains of a prehistoric female whose mother was a Neanderthal and whose father belonged to another extinct group of human relatives known as Denisovans. But the new finding is the first time anyone has identified an individual whose parents were from different groups.

We nearly caught them during the act, joked the scientist Svante, one of the authors of the study, in an interview with Nature.

But what if our species - arriving in waves from Africa - overwhelmed Neanderthals, and perhaps Denisovans, with affection rather than aggression?

Prof Chris Stringer, a human evolution researcher at the Museum, says, 'Neanderthals might have overlapped with the Denisovans across Asia for over 300,000 years, so the fact that their lineages remained largely separate must indicate the existence of some geographic, genetic or behavioural barriers to more widespread mating through that time'. Comparison with other ancient DNA showed that the genes she inherited from her mother were more closely related to Neanderthals who lived later in Europe than to other Neanderthal remains found in the cave, suggesting a wave of westward migration. Now, with the discovery of a Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid, the world as it was tens of thousands of years ago is coming into remarkable new focus: home to a marvelous range of human diversity. Neanderthals and Denisovans were well adapted to living in Eurasia before modern humans came along and took from them their red hair and ability to survive in the cold.

Now earliest fossils of Neanderthals in Europe are dated at 430,000 years ago and thereafter Neanderthals expanded into southwest and Central Asia.

Denny's surprising pedigree was unlocked from a bone fragment unearthed in 2012 by Russian archaeologists at the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia.

'We knew from previous studies that Neanderthals and Denisovans must have occasionally had children together, but I never thought we would be so lucky as to find an actual offspring of the two groups, ' said Slon. "Neandertals and Denisovans may not have had many opportunities to meet". The girl is called Denisova 11 because the bone represents the 11th distinct individual found in the cave.

The Denisova Cave has been lived in by modern humans Neanderthals and Denisovans
The Denisova Cave has been lived in by modern humans Neanderthals and Denisovans

"They managed to catch it in the act - it's an fantastic discovery", said Sharon Browning, a statistical geneticist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the new study.

"It will be good a day when we find the fossil skulls of these Denisovans to work out what hominin they are".

The researchers did not have much to work with - just a fragment of bone found in a remote cave in Siberia.

Till a few years ago, we used to think that homo sapiens wiped out other hominins by killing them due to overwhelming numbers.

They may not even be Neanderthals or Denisovans, said Michael Westaway, also from Griffith University.

Denisovans appeared later, and from the fossils alone it was hard for scientists to know if Denisovans and Neanderthals had ever come into contact.

The Denisovans are more mysterious.

There's just enough DNA to show that they were genetically distinct from Neanderthals and from modern humans.

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