- The Loom
Meet the Denisovans, the newest members of the human tree of life
Last March I wrote here about a 50,000-year-old pinky bone found in a Siberian cave that might belong to a previously unknown kind of human. Scientists had isolated mitochondrial DNA from the bone, which suggested that it belonged to a separate lineage that was neither Neanderthal nor human.
Well, the other shoe has dropped, and it turns out to be a big old boot.
But wait! There’s more. First off, the scientists also got Denisovan DNA out of a tooth in the cave. It’s a tooth unlike human or Neanderthal teeth, the scientists claim.
And there’s more! Neanderthals interbred with the first humans to emerge out of Africa, it appears, judging from the presence of Neanderthal DNA in European and Asian