The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
The Rock Art Network
Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News
Denisova DNA proof of parenting
Thursday 23 August 2018

An article on the BBC by Helen Briggs - Cave girl was half Neanderthal, half Denisovan - reports on the DNA research emerging from a cave in Russia.

Site of the Denisova cave in Siberia and the cave entrance
Site of the Denisova cave in Siberia (left. Image: B VIOLA, MPI-EVA) and the cave entrance

According to researchers, some 50,000 years ago the pairing of two types of humans resulted in a daughter. DNA extracted from bone fragments found in the cave show the girl was the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. The discovery has been reported in Nature.

Article continues below
Article continues

Viviane Slon, researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MPI-EVA) in Leipzig, Germany, states that previous studies have pointed to the fact that Neanderthals and Denisovans (humans like us, but belonging to different species) must have occasionally had children together, but finding an actual offspring of the two groups was very lucky - all of this coming from a single fragment of bone found in the Denisova cave by Russian archaeologists several years ago. Bence Viola of the University of Toronto states that the fragment is part of a long bone, and from that they could estimate that the individual was at least 13 years old.

Is everyone part Neanderthal? Present-day, non-African humans have a small proportion of their DNA that comes from Neanderthals. Some other non-African populations, depending on where they live, also have a fraction of their DNA that comes from an Asian people known as Denisovans. The fact the genes have been passed down the generations shows that interbreeding must have happened.

Excavations at the cave
Excavations at the cave. Images: B VIOLA, MPI-EVA.

Archaeologically, however, the only known site where fossil evidence of both Denisovans and Neanderthals has been found is at Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. And very few archaic humans (those belonging to species other than our own - Homo sapiens) have had their genomes sequenced.

Neanderthals and Denisovans are known to have overlapped in time in Eurasia. The two groups lived until about 40,000 years ago; Neanderthals in the west and Denisovans in the east. As Neanderthals migrated eastwards, they may have encountered Denisovans at times, as well as early modern humans.

Svante Pääbo, director of MPI-EVA states that Neanderthals and Denisovans may not have had many opportunities to meet, but when they did they must have mated frequently - much more so than previously thought.

Read more:
ORIGINS - Exploring the Fossil Record

Comment
Rock Art
Bighorn Sheep and Native Cosmology 2019
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 22 July 2019
New publication on rock art in Brazil
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 18 July 2019
New publication on rock art of Utah
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 13 June 2019
Cave Painting
Charcoal drawings discovered near Brno
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 01 July 2019
Aurignacian dots of Chauvet
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 21 May 2019
Understanding the Great Murals of Baja California
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 14 May 2019
Paleoanthropology
Skull found in Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 July 2019
Ice Age wolf found
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 12 June 2019
DNA reveals ancient migrations
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 06 June 2019
Archaeology
Haul of hundreds of hunter gatherer tools sheds light on Scotland's earliest residents
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 14 August 2019
Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 11 June 2019
Easter Island research & preservation
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 23 April 2019
Anthropology
South Pacific Islanders used obsidian for tattoos
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 12 July 2016
Oldest evidence of domesticated rice in China
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 23 June 2016
Landscapes shaped by human activity
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 07 June 2016
World Heritage
Moving the stones of Stonehenge
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 16 July 2019
Adoranten 2018
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 20 June 2019
Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 May 2019
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation on social media for news & updates
Follow the Bradshaw Foundation
on social media for news & updates
If you have enjoyed visiting this website
please consider adding a link © Bradshaw Foundation
 
 
ROCK ART
CAVE PAINTINGS
PALEOANTHROPOLOGY
Skull found in Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 July 2019
Ice Age wolf found
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 12 June 2019
DNA reveals ancient migrations
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 06 June 2019
ARCHAEOLOGY
ANTHROPOLOGY
WORLD HERITAGE
Moving the stones of Stonehenge
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 16 July 2019
Adoranten 2018
by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 20 June 2019
Modern sculpture meets ancient Greece
by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 08 May 2019
Bradshaw Foundation Donate Friends
Support our work & become a
Friend of the Foundation
 
 
Bradshaw Foundation Facebook
 
Bradshaw Foundation YouTube
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store
Bradshaw Foundation iShop Shop Store