Scientists were amazed to find that humans interbred with the mysterious Denisovans not in one region, but two.
Scientists have just discovered that modern humans may have interacted with and even reproduced with the Denisovans, an ancient species of humans, and they may have done so in multiple regions of the world. Scientists examined 5,500 genomes and were able to use that data to determine that humans bred with Denisovans at least twice.
It is a singificant finding that could totally change our understanding of modern humans. We did not even know the Denisovans existed until about 10 years ago, when a pinkie finger bone and a molar tooth were discovered in a Siberian cave. As scientists ruled out Neanderthals, it became clear that another human species would need to be classified.
This new study shows evidence that modern humans and Denisovans interbred in both Siberia and in South Asia. In addition to shedding light on mankind, it also helps us understand this mysterious species known as the Denisovans.
“What was known already was that Oceanian individuals, notably Papuan individuals, have significant amounts of Denisovan ancestry,” says senior author Sharon Browning, a research professor of biostatistics, University of Washington School of Public Health. “The genomes of modern Papuan individuals contain approximately 5% Denisovan ancestry.”