Anatomically modern humans were in Africa from some point after 200,000 years ago and reached Eurasia rather later. Meanwhile archaic hominins - including the Neanderthals - had been in Eurasia from at least 230,000 years ago and disappear from the fossil record only about 30,000 years ago. The genome of a female archaic hominin from the Denisova Cave in southern Siberia has now been sequenced from DNA extracted from a finger bone. The group to which this ‘Denisovan’ individual belonged shares a common origin with Neanderthals and although it was not involved in the putative gene flow from Neanderthals into Eurasians, it contributed 4-6% of the genomes of present-day Melanesians. In addition, the morphology of a tooth with a mitochondrial genome very similar to that of the finger bone suggests that these hominins are evolutionarily distinct from both Neanderthals and modern humans.
- Shadows of early migrations (News & Views p1044, doi: 10.1038/4681044a)
- Genetic history of an archaic hominin group from Denisova Cave in Siberia (Article p1053, doi: 10.1038/nature09710)
Recent Hot Topics
Sign up for Nature Research e-alerts to get the lastest research in your inbox every week.