Friday, October 18, 2013

Denisovans are what? And They Lived Where?!!

Damn things are getting weird.  To what end? you might be inclined to ask.  Well, let's remember this
quirky  Denisova hominin.   Now the "hominin" part of the title might just have given these Denisova away as to their genus.  Yep, these early "hominids' may be, very likely, early relatives of modern man.

Fossils were first uncovered in the Denisova cave  located in the Altai mountains.  Dating puts the bones at 40+ thousand years ago.  This cave system is unique as it was inhabited at various times by both Neanderthals and modern humans alike.  

Though they may be thought of as ancestors,  Analysis of the mitochondrial DNA from Denisovans  showed it to be genetically distinct from that of Neanderthals and modern humans.  Denisovans may show a more common origin with Neanderthals.   But there is evidence that they also lived among and interbred with ancestors of modern humans.

Ranging from Siberia to SE Asia Denisovans bred with local modern human groups like Melanesians and Australian Aborigines with up to 6% derived from inbreeding with Denisovans.   Local Neanderthal populations were discovered to have upwards of 17%.

Now that there are plenty of outlets to find more info, Discover / The Loom has done a credible job.  As does the Wiki

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