Unexpected Denisovan Fossil Location Reveals More (Video)
In a surprising turn of events, Denisovan fossils have emerged in an unexpected location, challenging established notions of their habitat. Archaeologists recently uncovered a 160,000 to 130,000-year-old Denisovan tooth in the remote Annamite Mountains of northern Laos, far from the previously identified Siberian cave. This finding unveils a new chapter in the Denisovan story, showcasing their adaptability to diverse environments. These archaic humans, identified solely through DNA until now, not only endured the freezing climes of southern Siberia and adapted to high altitudes in Tibet but also thrived in the tropical caves of Laos—a feat accomplished a staggering 100,000 years earlier than modern humans.
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The significance of this discovery extends beyond the individual tooth. The meticulous analysis of the enamel, lacking wear and tear, points to a young Denisovan girl aged between three and a half and eight and a half years. Despite the scarcity of Denisovan fossils, this solitary tooth challenges assumptions about their geographical range. While drawing conclusions from a lone find is risky, the revelation underscores the richness of surprises awaiting discovery in Southeast Asia's fossil record. The Denisovans' ability to cross significant biogeographic barriers, like Wallace's Line, raises intriguing questions about their capabilities and interactions with other human species. The complexity of these interbreeding events, revealed through advanced genetic analyses, reshapes our understanding of the Denisovans' place in the human family tree.
Top image: Denisovan fossil, discovered in Laos' Annamite Mountains, redefines their story. Source: ginettigino / Adobe Stock