A model of the face of an adult female Homo erectus. Reconstruction by John Gurche, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Scientists Say A Mystery Species Bred with Ancient Humans in Distant Past

(Read the article on one page)

A new study of the genomes of Australasians has revealed sections of DNA that do not match any known hominin species. The dramatic findings mean that a mystery species bred with ancient humans in the distant past and that our family tree is much more complex than previously believed.

New Scientist reports that the unknown species bred with early human ancestors when they migrated from Africa to Australasia.  

The surprising finding, published in the journal Nature Genetics , was made by Jaume Bertranpetit  at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain and his colleagues, who examined the genomes of living Indigenous Australians, Papuans, people from the Andaman Islands near India, and from mainland India.  The results revealed sections of DNA that did not match any previously identified hominin species.

“These DNA sequences are not present in the genomes of living Europeans or east Asians,” reports New Scientist, “suggesting that the ancestors of these people met and bred with a mystery hominin in south Asia or the Pacific region, who left their genetic legacy in the area’s present-day populations.”

One theory is that the mystery species was Homo erectus, which was present in Asia between about  1.8 million and 33,000 years ago . However, there is no DNA from Homo erectus with which to compare to the samples from current Australasian populations.

Homo erectus tautavelensis skull

Homo erectus tautavelensis skull ( public domain )

Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide, Australia, has raised the possibility that multiple unknown hominin species may have contributed to the unidentifiable DNA segments. “Asia is a bit of a nightmare in terms of the number of different groups that were running around at the same time,” said Cooper [via New Scientist].

The results echo previous findings from 2013 in which the genome of one of our ancient ancestors, the Denisovans, was found to contain a segment of DNA that came from another species currently unknown to science.

Scientists launched into a flurry of discussion and debate upon hearing the study results and immediately began speculating about what this unknown species could be.  Some suggested that a group may have branched off to Asia from the Homo heidelbernensis, who resided in Africa about half a million years ago. They are believed to be the ancestors of Europe's Neanderthals.  However, others, such as Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the London Natural History Museum, admitted that they “don’t have the faintest idea” what the mystery species could be.

Denisova cave in Russia, where researchers found teeth and finger bones, which enabled the mapping of the Denisovan genome

Denisova cave in Russia, where researchers found teeth and finger bones, which enabled the mapping of the Denisovan genome ( public domain )

Both sets of findings indicate that our family tree is far more complex than previously believed and likely involved the interbreeding between multiple hominin species, many of which we may never find traces of.

Top image: A model of the face of an adult female Homo erectus. Reconstruction by John Gurche, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History ( public domain )

By April Holloway

Comments

"And by the way, why exactly would gods want gold mined for them? If they can create an entire species they can probably come up with a more efficient method of getting gold out of the fecking earth, you retard."

The more to-the-point question is why any beings who had the resources to travel over interstellar distances would care about material resources? In order to make the trip their technology would have to be advanced enough to synthesize any molecules or elements that they needed. And it would cost less energy than the actual trip itself. To come here and mess with the natives they would have to be psychopaths with severe emotional problems.

Actually, tht does fit the behavior of the gods of myth, especially YHVH...

Steve Byrd's picture

They could be fallen angels like the Bible talks about.

The three "races" are actually less different from each other than members of the same race are from each other, when you look at anything beyond surface appearances. Or even surface appearances...

There are THREE racial groupings BUT FOUR BLOOD TYPES?

He looks European to me if you just make it orange in color? This European racist made it look black to insinuate something all in the name of science?....lol

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Silhouettes (Public Domain) in front of blood cells (Public Domain) and a gene.
Most people who have the Rh blood type are Rh-positive. There are also instances, however, where people are Rh-Negative. Health problems may occur for the unborn child of a mother with Rh-Negative blood when the baby is Rh-Positive.

Ancient Technology

Roman glass (not the legendary flexible glass). Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.
Imagine a glass you can bend and then watch it return to its original form. A glass that you drop but it doesn’t break. Stories say that an ancient Roman glassmaker had the technology to create a flexible glass, ‘vitrium flexile’, but a certain emperor decided the invention should not be.

Ancient Places

Face of the coffin in which the mummy of Ramesses II was found. (Credit: Petra Lether, designed by Anand Balaji)
Usermaatre Setepenre Ramesses II, the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty, was one of ancient Egypt’s longest-reigning monarchs. In an astonishing sixty-seven regnal years – the glory days of empire that witnessed unprecedented peace and prosperity – the monarch built grand edifices and etched his name on innumerable monuments of his forbears.

Opinion

Hopewell mounds from the Mound City Group in Ohio. Representative image
During the Early Woodland Period (1000—200 BC), the Adena people constructed extensive burial mounds and earthworks throughout the Ohio Valley in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Many of the skeletal remains found in these mounds by early antiquarians and 20th-Century archaeologists were of powerfully-built individuals reaching between 6.5 and eight feet in height (198 cm – 244 cm).

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article