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GENOME OF EXTINCT HUMAN SPECIES FROM FRAGMENT OF A FINGER BONE

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Posted by abeodbart February 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

Denisova Cave, Altai Krai, Russia.
You’ve heard of our super-close relatives the Neanderthals, of course. But did you know there are far more species of humans that went extinct, like the tiny Floresiensis (“Hobbits”)? There are 14 known species of human being that are no longer with us. These were all out-competed, possibly even murdered by homo sapiens (us!) and other human speciesor in some cases driven to extinction by rapidly changing climate conditions (hint, hint, we’re changing the climate today faster than ever before!).

The newest addition to the group of known extinct humans are the Denisovans, who last lived approximately 30.000 years ago, at the same time as Neanderthal and modern humans roamed a similar region of Russia. Their remains (well, read on…) were found in a cave (Denisova Cave) around 10 years ago, even though they were not recognized as a new race of humans until 2010. Only a short while ago a group of German scientists has mapped the complete genome (DNA sequence) of these extinct human beings. Guess what they needed to do that? Just a bone fragment from a little piece of finger, which was, together with a wisdom tooth, the only found remains of the Denisovans in the cave.

With the full DNA sequence of Denisova Hominin, we can determine when and where our evolutionary lineages diverted and possible see what these extinct humans were like. Read more about this remarkable achievement on Nature.com. Some Denisovian genes probably live on through interbreeding with modern humans, since it looks like modern-day Melanesians and Australian Aboriginals have some Denisovian left in them. Fascinating stuff. More research is being done on a toe bone discovered in 2011.

So no worries, all you have to leave is a toe or a finger in a convenient, yet protected, location and perhaps future humans can bring you back to life! Your genes anyway.

COMMENTS
February 10, 2012 at 10:41 am
GjWorner says:

Did you see the recent BBc4 doc covering this topic?
awsome viweing

http://dalen7.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/how-to-build-a-human-sciencemedical-bbc-documentary/

enjoy


February 10, 2012 at 11:08 am
Hannah L B says:

That’s really cool. I find things like this so fascinating, and I’m very interested in history & archaeology anyway. Might have to rethink my career choice… =]


February 10, 2012 at 11:29 am
Hannah says:

This is so interesting… You wonder what they’re going to find next. I have always thought that the old and somewhat far-fetched myths and legends about unusual creatures and humans were based in truth to some extent… If hobbits did indeed exist, what else did that we may now have placed firmly in the fiction box??! Intrigued!!


February 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm
Shaun Banks says:

That is amazing, but not surprising as my mother was a sasquatch and my father a yeti – They weren’t around that much – I would catch a glimpse of them in the house or at the bottom of the garden now and then but no more than that really.

It’s not easy been a Troll


February 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm
The Zarbi says:

Funny how the climate changed all those years ago without human intervention, isn’t it?


February 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm
Shaun Banks says:

There are 14 known species of human being that are no longer with us.

Catch the tube in rush hour and you will see that there are far more species of human being than 14, including idious stupidious, Dickus Headus and ignorantous arrogantious.

These were all out-competed, possibly even murdered by homo sapiens (us!) and other human speciesor in some cases driven to extinction by rapidly changing climate conditions (hint, hint, we’re changing the climate today faster than ever before!).

Obviously they might also have all been shagged into exitinction. With regards to climate change it will be interesting to see if the data can detect any tiny changes during in these difficult times when manufacturing output and other material demands will have fallen significantly.


February 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm
Higgs boson says:

GjWorner : Very interesting videos, although it always scares me a little when scientists are trying to do amazing things but during the process they explain there are parts of the process they have no idea whatsoever how they work.

Should they ever manage to be able to program the stem cells into anything they want then perhaps they should consider replicating some of the molecular engines that exist within the human body and up scale them so they can be used for transport etc. Organic engines are the future. Obviously you would not want to take this too far and try and create smart organic engines by utilising brain cells too, otherwise you might end up with a moody engine that can’t be bother to take you places when it is not in the mood.


February 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm
alan says:

we’re changing the climate today faster than ever before!
So only the small part players from the cast of the Snow White Christmas Panto, are in with a chance?

all you have to leave is a toe or a finger in a convenient, yet protected, location and perhaps future humans can bring you back to life!
Sounds like the plot line from Carry On Screaming.


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