The child of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan. A hybrid of two extinct human species has been identified

In a Siberian cave, bones belonging to a girl whose parents were representatives of two extinct hominin species were found. The child of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan is the first identified descendant of two different species of ancient humans.

Denisovans and Neanderthals are the closest extinct relatives of currently living humans. As recently as 40,000. Years ago, these two groups of homininsów inhabited Eurasia – Neanderthals in the west and Denisovans in the east. Their evolutionary paths diverged much earlier, some 350,000. years ago, but that doesn’t mean the two groups were not in contact with each otherów.

Both of these groups of ancient homininsów migrated between western and eastern Eurasia. It had already been established, based on ancient genomes, that Denisovans, Neanderthals and wspóEarly humans interbred with each other. Genes of both archaic speciesów are present in many people today. Other fossils found in a Siberian cave have shown that all three species lived there in rólion’s share of the time. – Now we have found the fruit of love dwóch rótion of different hominin groupsów – said Johannes Krause, a specialist in ancient DNA at the Institute for the Study of Human History of the im. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Jena.

The remains found in the Siberian cave belonged to a girl whoóra at the time of her death may have been a dozen years old at most. Scientists put their age at about 50,000. Years old. The genome was also sequenced and it turned out that the girl’s mother was a Neanderthal and her father a Denisovan. This is the first identified descendant of the twoóch róof different speciesóin ancient humans.

– We knew from previous studies that Neanderthals and Denisovans must sometimes have had children together, but we never thought we would be so lucky as to find the offspring of these twoóch groups – said Viviane Slon of the Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology of the im. Max Planck Institute for Human History (MPI-EVA) in Leipzig, wspóhe author of the publication, whichóra appeared on „Nature”.

In the cave, only one bone, or rather, part of it, was found, belonging to Denny, as the researchers named the girl. The bone fragment is part of którien of long bones – femoral or tibial, possibly humeral. But this piece may make it famous. Ancient DNA survives within a mere 2-centimeter fragment, revealing the girl’s surprising ancestry.

The bone was found in Denisov’s cave by Russian archaeologistsóin 2012. It was then transported to Leipzig, where it was subjected to detailedólows research. A closer look at the genome suggests that her father had róAlso several Neanderthal ancestorsóIn, probably several hundred generations back. The mother’s genes, on the other hand, are closer to those of Neanderthals, whoówhose remains have been found in Croatia.

– From this single genome, we are able to detect many cases ofóIn the interaction between Neanderthals and Denisovans – said Benjamin Vernot of MPI-EVA, a coórouter of the study.

– It is striking that we found this child of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan among theód handful of ancient waspsób, whichóThe genomes of all of them have been sequenced. Neanderthals and Denisovans may not have had many encounters. But when it came down to it, they must have often paired off – much more often than we previously thought – explained Svante PääBecause, the mainówny author of the publication.