Kostenki14 – A New Ancient Siberian DNA Sample

k14 skeleton

This week, published in Science, we find another ancient DNA full genome sequence from Siberia in an article titled “Genomic structure in Europeans dating back at least 36,200 years” by Seguin-Orlando et al.. This sample, partially shown above, is quite old and closely related to the Mal’ta child, also found in Siberia from about 24,000 years ago. Interestingly enough, K14 carries more Neanderthal DNA than current Europeans. This skeleton was actually excavated in 1954, but was only recently genetically analyzed.

k14 mapFrom the paper, this map above shows the locations of recently analyzed ancient DNA samples.  Note that even though K14 and Mal’ta child are similar, they are not located in close geographic proximity.

k14 population clusterAlso from the paper, this chart of population clusters is quite interesting, because we can see which of these ancient samples share some heritage with today’s indigenous American populations, shown in grey. UPGH=Upper Paleolithic Hunter-Gatherer, MHG=Mesolithic Hunter Gatherer, which is later in time that Paleolithic, and NEOL=Neolithic indicating the farming population that arrived in Europe approximately 7,000-10,000 years ago from the Middle East

You can see that the Neolithic samples show no trace of ancestry with today’s Native people, but both pre-Neolithic Hunter-Gatherer cultures show some amount of shared ancestry with Native people. However, to date, MA1, the Malta child is the most closely related and carries the most DNA in common with today’s Native people.

Felix Chandrakumar is currently preparing the K14 genome for addition to the ancient DNA kits at GedMatch.  It will be interesting to see if this sample also matches currently living individuals.

Also from the K14 paper, you can see on the map below where K14 matches current worldwide and European populations, where the warmer colors, i.e. red, indicated a closer match.

K14 population matches

Of interest to genealogists and population geneticists, K14’s mitochondrial haplogroup is U2 and his Y haplogroup is C-M130, the same as LaBrana, a late Mesolithic hunter-gatherer found in northern Spain. Haplogroup C is, of course, one of the base haplogroups for the Native people of the Americas.

The K14 paper further fleshes out the new peopling of Europe diagram discussed in my Peopling of Europe article.

This map, from the Lazardis “Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans” paper published in September 2014, shows the newly defined map including Ancient North Eurasian in this diagram.

Lazaridis tree

K14 adds to this diagram in the following manner, although the paths are flipped right to left.

K14 tree

Blue represent current populations, red are ancient remains and green are ancestral populations.

Dienekes wrote about this find as well, here.

Paper Abstract:

The origin of contemporary Europeans remains contentious. We obtain a genome sequence from Kostenki 14 in European Russia dating to 38,700 to 36,200 years ago, one of the oldest fossils of Anatomically Modern Humans from Europe. We find that K14 shares a close ancestry with the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta boy from central Siberia, European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, some contemporary western Siberians, and many Europeans, but not eastern Asians. Additionally, the Kostenki 14 genome shows evidence of shared ancestry with a population basal to all Eurasians that also relates to later European Neolithic farmers. We find that Kostenki 14 contains more Neandertal DNA that is contained in longer tracts than present Europeans. Our findings reveal the timing of divergence of western Eurasians and East Asians to be more than 36,200 years ago and that European genomic structure today dates back to the Upper Paleolithic and derives from a meta-population that at times stretched from Europe to central Asia.

You can read the full paper at the two links below.



It’s been a great year for ancient DNA analysis and learning about our ancestral human populations.

However, I have one observation I just have to make about this particular find.

What amazing teeth. Obviously, this culture did not consume sugar!



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15 thoughts on “Kostenki14 – A New Ancient Siberian DNA Sample

  1. Roberta, yes, my thoughts…….what amazing teeth! With their “warrior mentality” of survival of the fittest, one would think he would have a few front teeth missing (I do not think they wore helmets or mouth guards back then). LOL But, he also must have had a hearty, well-balanced diet to have those teeth. With those teeth, he had to have been a “rock star”. LOL

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  4. Now that very ancient Y-dna hg C has been found in Kostenski as well as La Brana, is there any possibility that basal C* may not have originated from a southern coastal route, but from a more central Eurasian route to reach Central Asia (Mongolia) or SEA and then Australia? Where are the other chronologically oldest basal hg Cs located? Given that hg R and Q seem to have diverged from an Asian position somewhere between the Altai and SEA, could there have been just one ancient migration that diverged from a route and position equidistant to Indian (northern), Altai and SEA? Akin to the global distribution of YAP+ hgs for example? These show a pattern through West Asia showing up around Mongolia-Tibet with early D hgs, ending up in terminal East Asian Japan, along with early C hgs (with similar hgs from spreading from SW China perhaps to ISEA and Melanesia). Just wanting to know if this alternative route has been properly explored?

  5. Roberta ,on Gedmatch there are three or four live matches to on his X chromosome . Comparing known family, and Mal’ta Boy F999914 to one of those matches M717112 on Gedmatch Multiply Kit Analysis , I get matches with the same root . One of the shared matches between my mom and M717112 is H842117 , I am pretty sure of the connection on the shared segment . Looking at the first few Gedcom + DNA matches for H842117 leads to the Robeson County NC area . I will list some of the other Gedmatch numbers from mostly known family. So my question is are these real matches to Mal’ta Boy , as there are also common matching segments on other of his chromosomes when using small snps and cms ?

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