Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Interbreeding in Early Humans- Much More Widespread Than Previously Thought

DNA found in ancient bones from Spain  suggest that interbreeding between human species in Ice Age Europe was more widespread than suspected.
Geneticists at the Max Planck Institute  in Germany extracted  human DNA,  more than 300,000 years old, from  bones found at the bottom of a cave shaft  in northern Spain, where remains of 28 early humans that belong to an unknown species have been discovered.  

The bones suggest that these fore-runners to modern man likely  looked like stocky, barrel-chested Neanderthals. But their genetic samples showed that  maternal DNA, drawn from cell mitochondria, was different than that of Neanderthals and also unlike that of more modern humans. It was most closely related to a little known species called the Denisovans, who were unknown  until 2010 when the dna was isolated from samples from a young female.   Those remains were 40,000 years old which indicates Neanderthals, anatomically modern humans and Denisovans coexisted at that time. 

With the discovery that Neanderthal DNA and the newly discovered material, geneticist Michael Hammer said “This tells us something interesting about how our species evolved. It may be that interbreeding was a common process in all of human evolution. ”

Read complete Wall Street Journal article HERE

No comments: