It turned out that there are buried people who lived 430 thousand years ago, were closer to Neanderthals than to denisovans, given that in their DNA found traces of both groups of ancient people. A new study presented in the journal Nature.
Discovered in the Cleft of bones in the Sierra de Atapuerca bones originally classified as belonging to the Heidelberg man (he lived in Eurasia from 600 to 250 thousand years ago). This species is the ancestor of Neanderthals, and some researchers attribute it to the ancestors and modern humans.
However, in 2013, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the remains showed much in common with the mtDNA of denisovans — another type of people whom anthropologists almost nothing is known (except that they lived in the East and South-East of Eurasia).
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Paleogenetic from Germany were able to sequence nuclear DNA: they have extracted enough material from a tooth and one of the bones of the feet — despite the fact that ancient DNA is decomposed into short fragments. It turned out that hominini from the Crevices of the bones closer to the Neanderthals than to denisovans. Thus, these groups of Homo diverged 430 thousand years ago — much earlier than believed genetics.
In addition, this discovery pushes back into the past the period of separation of the ancestors of Homo sapiens from the Neanderthals and the denisovans — to 765 thousand years ago. Previously, scientists believed that this event occurred in the interval 315-540 thousand years ago. However, these Spanish DNA, among other things, agree better with the recent Dating of the fossil remains of ancient people.
In the next stage the opening of the German paleogenetics will perecherkivaet entire evolutionary tree of genus Homo. Now in all textbooks is written that Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and denisovans descended from Heidelberg man. However, the latter emerged as a separate species only 700 thousand years ago.
Now it turns out that the last common ancestor of the three species is not Homo heidelbergensis, the more ancient and mysterious species Homo antecessor, which first appeared over a million years ago.
Scientists say that the remains from the crevices of the bones have not yet revealed all its secrets. For example, mitochondrial DNA is closer to Denisov. This can be explained by the presence of an unknown branch of the Eurasian hominin that interbred with ancestors of the Neanderthals and the denisovans — but not with representatives of the group, which later became pure Neanderthals.
Or "Spanish" mtDNA was characteristic of all of these archaic hominin, and then the Neanderthals received some mtDNA from African populations of Homo sapiens ancestors.