Denisovan DNA Tells a Story

The Denisovan are an extinct human species that once lived in the Altai Mountains in Siberia.  Remains were found in the Denisova Cave (shown above with tourists approaching the entrance) and scientists have managed to extract DNA from a bone fragment that is at least 30,000 years old.  What did that DNA tell us?  The bone belonged to a little girl who had brown eyes, brown hair and dark skin.  Gosh, sounds a lot like me.

Her remains were discovered along with microblades (small stone blades used as tools), body ornaments of polished stone, and a molar shaped very differently from that of Neanderthals and modern humans.  The finger bone from the girl and the tooth were from different people.

Body ornaments – I guess jewelry has been forever popular. Maybe not so different from us as we might think.

The Denisovans lived at the same time as the Neanderthals and both Denisovans and Neanderthals interbred with each other and with homo sapiens, the species we now know as modern humans.  Yes indeed, if you are European, then approximately 5% of your genetic material is Neanderthal and part of it may well be Denisovan too. 

You can read more about this exciting discovery here and here.

7 thoughts on “Denisovan DNA Tells a Story

  1. I have been amazed by this discovery and try to read everything I can that is posted about the Denisovans. So if you find anything else, please post it!!!

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