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First ever Denisovan skull fragments discovered

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Razumov

https://www.sciencealert.com/first-confirmed-denisovan-skull-piece-found

The new discovery consists of two connecting fragments from the back, left-hand side of the parietal bone, which forms the sides and roof of the skull. Together, they measure about 8 cm by 5 cm.

DNA analysis proves that the piece is Denisovan, though it's too old to date with radiocarbon techniques. Viola and colleagues have compared the fragments to the remains of modern humans and Neanderthals, according to the conference abstract, although Viola is unwilling to discuss the details of what they learned until the work is published.

"This is exciting," says Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London, UK., who wasn't involved with the work but will be presenting in the same upcoming conference session about Denisovans.

"But, of course, it is only a small fragment. It's as important in raising hopes that yet more complete material will be recovered."

Sadly, the newfound piece is not large enough to use to identify other skulls found elsewhere as Denisovan without genetic information to back the diagnosis up.

 

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/ancient-skulls-may-belong-elusive-humans-called-denisovans

In a paper published this week in Science, a Chinese-U.S. team presents 105,000- to 125,000-year-old fossils they call “archaic Homo.” They note that the bones could be a new type of human or an eastern variant of Neandertals. But although the team avoids the word, “everyone else would wonder whether these might be Denisovans,” which are close cousins to Neandertals, says paleo­anthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

The new skulls “definitely” fit what you’d expect from a Denisovan, adds paleoanthropologist María Martinón-Torres of the University College London—“something with an Asian flavor but closely related to Neandertals.” But because the investigators have not extracted DNA from the skulls, “the possibility remains a speculation.”

...

Wu thinks those fossils and the new skulls “are a kind of unknown or new ar­chaic human that survived on in East Asia to 100,000 years ago.” Based on similari­ties to some other Asian fossils, she and her colleagues think the new crania repre­sent regional members of a population in eastern Asia who passed local traits down through the generations in what the re­searchers call regional continuity. At the same time, resemblances to both Nean­dertals and modern humans suggest that these archaic Asians mixed at least at low levels with other archaic people.

To other experts, the Denisovans fit that description: They are roughly dated to ap­proximately 100,000 to 50,000 years ago, and their DNA shows that after hundreds of thousands of years of isolation, they mixed both with Neandertals and early modern humans. “This is exactly what the DNA tells us when one tries to make sense of the Denisova discoveries,” says paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “These Chinese fossils are in the right place at the right time, with the right features.”

 

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Jon the frog

It's why Bigfoot is mostly impossible... they found a lot of bones of our ancestry from species or subspecies that disappears far far ago. Bigfoot would have left traces too. 

It's awesome that they continue do find parts of our phylogeny years after years. 

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Razumov

Live-streaming of AAPA Symposium "Deciphering the Denisovans"

https://www.facebook.com/events/474301093105344/

http://meeting.physanth.org/program/2019/session09/

Nested in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia, there is a cave that revealed one of the most stunning scientific discoveries that have been made in recent years: the Denisovans. This elusive new archaic hominin species, distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans, is currently known only for its DNA extracted mostly from a terminal phalanx bone, probably from the left fifth digit ("pinky bone") of a girl who lived around 41,000 years ago. Her group and their descendants left very little behind. The sequencing of their genome in 2010, however, showed that substantial amounts of their DNA still persist today in modern human populations in Melanesia. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the excavation of this specimen, this symposium will bring together archaeologists, geneticists, and paleoanthropologists in order to expand and explore the most exciting findings made in the past 10 years related to this archaic hominin group. Furthermore, this interdisciplinary venue will also point out to the next steps involving the study of this species, the technological innovations that are enabling scientists to discover more about these archaic humans, the mystery involving their place in human evolution, their geographical range, their interactions with Neanderthals, and the legacy they left to modern humans. While many questions remain unanswered, there is one thing we can be sure about – Denisovans changed our paradigm about human evolution and how we understand our species. Thus, this symposium represents a timely opportunity to promote cooperation and discussion among researchers from different fields and strengthen the role our discipline will play in the following years in the study of archaic humans.

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Razumov

 

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Piney
On 3/28/2019 at 8:15 PM, Razumov said:

 

It makes me wonder if some of the Homo Erectus remains uncovered in China are actually Denisovans.  

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Razumov
19 hours ago, Piney said:

It makes me wonder if some of the Homo Erectus remains uncovered in China are actually Denisovans.  

 

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Razumov

Our mysterious cousins—the Denisovans—may have mated with modern humans as recently as 15,000 years ago

The elusive Denisovans, the extinct cousins of Neanderthals, are known from only the scraps of bone they left in Siberia’s Denisova Cave in Russia and the genetic legacy they bequeathed to living people across Asia. A new study of that legacy in people from New Guinea now suggests that, far from being a single group, these mysterious humans were so diverse that their populations were as distantly related to each other as they were to Neanderthals.

In another startling suggestion, the study implies one of those groups may have survived and encountered modern humans as recently as 15,000 to 30,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years later than researchers had thought. “A late surviving lineage [of Denisovans] could have interbred with Homo sapiens” in Southeast Asia, paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, not a member of the team, said in a Skype interview during a session at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists here. The new study was presented Thursday at the meeting.

 

 

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Mellon Man

This is significant. 

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Bavarian Raven
On 3/17/2019 at 9:25 AM, Jon the frog said:

It's why Bigfoot is mostly impossible... they found a lot of bones of our ancestry from species or subspecies that disappears far far ago. Bigfoot would have left traces too. 

It's awesome that they continue do find parts of our phylogeny years after years. 

Unless Bigfoot is just tiny relic populations of modern humans still living "the old ways" and doing their best to avoid us at all costs... ;)

Neat find nevertheless!

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