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Denisova man - a new hominid aside of humans and neanderthals

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  • Denisova man - a new hominid aside of humans and neanderthals

    Was in the news recently (e.g.: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/sc...25human.html):

    DNA extracted from a single bone from the little finger of a child, buried in a cave in the Altai mountains of southern Siberia ... differed conspicuously from that of both modern humans and of Neanderthals, the archaic human species that inhabited Europe until the arrival of modern humans on the continent some 44,000 years ago. The genetic material extracted from the bone, an element called mitochondrial DNA, belonged to a distinct human lineage that migrated out of Africa at a different time from the two known archaic human species.
    More detailed background on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denisova_hominin

    The Siberian bone's mtDNA differs from that of modern humans by 385 "letters" (nucleotides) in the mtDNA strand out of approximately 16,500, whereas the difference between modern humans and Neanderthals is around 202 letters. In contrast, the difference between Chimpanzees and modern humans is approximately 1,462 mtDNA letters. Analysis of the nuclear DNA is underway and is expected to clarify whether the child is a pure breed or is a hybrid with neighbouring modern humans or Neanderthals, in which case it would not be a representative of a distinct species.
    As the use of DNA analysis is proliferating, discoveries like this one was bound to happen, and more discoveries will eventually follow. Very exciting though.

  • #2
    Wow. For real? Not an early April Fools Day Joke?

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    • #3
      I wouldn't be suprised if there will be a lot more discoveries of ancient DNA that is a lot more distantly related than expected, especially among the archaics.

      Timothy Peterman

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