2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
An unknown species of man left a mark in the DNA of the Melanesians - such conclusions were made by experts from the University of Texas.
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The lead author of the study, geneticist Ryan Bolender, said that his team analyzed the DNA of the inhabitants of Melanesia, compared it with the DNA of Africans, Neanderthals and Denisovans and found "traces" of hominids unknown to science in the genome of the Papuans. According to the researcher, a significant part of the admixture of ancient DNA, which was previously mistaken for Denisov's DNA, actually belongs to some third fossil human species. Ryan Bolender spoke with unexpected results at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. Of course, until the results of the study are published in a reputable scientific journal, experts are in no hurry to draw conclusions. However, a team of specialists from the Natural History Museum of Denmark independently came to results similar to those of Bolender. The authors of the study, published in Nature, examined the genomes of 25 Papuans and 83 Australian Aborigines and also found traces of DNA that was "Denisovan-like DNA" but different and possibly derived from other unknown hominids. “Who this species was, we do not know,” admitted Danish scientists.
True, some anthropologists believe that "something similar to the footprints of the Denisovites" are the "footprints of the Denisovans". After all, the Denisovans are known only from a few finds from a single cave in Altai. An analysis of even these finds showed that the Denisovans were genetically very diverse and, probably, widely spread across Eurasia. Therefore, it is not surprising that some southern population of Denisovans, different from the ancient inhabitants of Altai, could interbreed with the ancestors of the Melanesians.
It must be said that this is not the first time that messages about the cross-breeding of our ancestors with unknown hominids have appeared. So, in 2012, another team of scientists said that the DNA of Africans - hunter-gatherers from Tanzania and Cameroon - contains traces of "someone unknown."
The news is commented by the scientific editor of ANTHROPOGENEZ. RU Stanislav Drobyshevsky:
Geneticists never tire of delighting with discoveries. Not everyone had time to get used to the fact that we have about 2% of Neanderthal genes, and Australians and Melanesians have almost 5% of Denisovs, as new cunning calculations showed that Melanesians, in fact, 2, 74%, “Neanderthal "And only 1, 1% of" Denisovism ". Well, this is an immutable law of nature: if it has arrived in one place, it has disappeared somewhere. But the opposite law is just as unshakable: if somewhere has disappeared, then somewhere has arrived! If “Denisovism” has decreased by almost five times, then it becomes boring. And here new modeling methods rush to the rescue!
Ryan Bolender, a dashing statistical geneticist from Texas (and, of course, co-comrades), once again recalculated the nucleotides and found that, in addition to the Neanderthal and Denisovan admixtures, Melanesians may have some additional component in their genome. Third kind !!!
Nobody has found it yet, but geneticists have calculated it! Hooray! BUT! As always, there are a few BUTs.
First, anthropology knows a whole bunch of hominid fossils. In South and Southeast Asia, there are a lot of specific finds that are not very similar to either Neanderthals or Sapiens. Skulls from Ngandong, Narmada, Dali, Chinnyushan, Salkhit and others can easily represent a bunch of other species. The fact that geneticists cannot isolate DNA from them (or have not yet reached their hands) does not mean that they are generally unknown to science.
Secondly, the authors of the study themselves note that the new mysterious admixture, in general, is not too different from Denisov's. Considering that Denisovans are known from samples from Altai, and they had to mix with sapiens somewhere in the south of Asia or in general in the east of Indonesia, it would seem logical that distant populations were different from each other. The present Altaians differ from the Tanimbari people.
Third, it is characteristic that geneticists and journalists call the new hypothetical ancestor "the third species."It means that the first is the Neanderthals, the second is the Denisovans, the third is this unknown. Don't you notice anything strange? Where are the sapiens? Or are they no longer considered significant? Or will the number of impurities soon be such that geneticists will calculate the percentage of sapiens in Melanesians?
In fairness, it should be noted that the authors of the epoch-making discovery themselves perfectly understand all these and other difficulties, and therefore are extremely careful in their statements. And so they published their work not in the coolest journals, but in a short abstract of the congress of the American Society of Human Genetics, held in Canada.
Fourthly, the hottest heads have already blurted out that the "third species" are the hobbits of Flores. Poor Melanesians …
The hunt for hobbits, elves, fauns and orcs continues? Looking forward to 33 species?
Bohlender R. et al. // 66th Annual Meeting of The American Society of Human Genetics, Date, Location (e.g., October 19, 2016, Vancouver, Canada).
Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas et al. / A genomic history of Aboriginal Australia Nature, 2016
Pacific Islanders appear to be carrying the DNA of an unknown human species
DNA data offer evidence of unknown extinct human relative
All about Denisovites