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In a Tooth, DNA From Some Very Old Cousins, the Denisovans

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tags: archaeology, DNA, Denisovans



A tooth fossil discovered in a Siberian cave has yielded DNA from a vanished branch of the human tree, mysterious cousins called the Denisovans, scientists said Monday.

Their analysis pushes back the oldest known evidence for Denisovans by 60,000 years, suggesting that the species was able to thrive in harsh climates for thousands of generations. The results also suggest that the Denisovans may have bred with other ancient hominins, relatives of modern humans whom science has yet to discover.

Todd Disotell, a molecular anthropologist at New York University who was not involved in the new study, said the report added to growing evidence that our species kept company with many near relatives over the past million years. The world, Dr. Disotell said, “was a lot like Middle-earth.”

Read entire article at NYT


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