Many times when we read about a new discovery in or genetics physical anthropology, Svante Pääbo’s name is attached. Pääbo, a biologist, is frequently in the news in his capacity as director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology . In March, 2010, in Denisova cave in Southern Siberia Pääbo and his department may have identified a third member of the homo family. Neither Neandertal nor Sapiens this new group may have a genome related to Melanesians.
A 30,000-year-old finger bone found in a cave in southern Siberia came from a young girl who was neither an early modern human nor a Neanderthal, but belonged to a previously unknown group of human relatives, called “Denisovans” after the cave where the fossils were found, who may have lived throughout much of Asia during the late Pleistocene epoch.
Biblical Adam, First Man
Adam, first man per Bible records, archaeology dates him to 14,000 BP. Although the fossil evidence consists of just a bone fragment and one tooth, DNA extracted from the bone has yielded a draft genome sequence, enabling scientists to reach some startling conclusions about this extinct branch of the human family tree.
Comparing the Denisovan genome sequence with the genomes of Neanderthals and modern humans, the researchers determined that the Denisovans were a sister group to the Neanderthals, descended from the same ancestral population that had separated earlier from the ancestors of present-day humans.
The study also found surprising evidence of Denisovan gene sequences in modern-day Melanesians, suggesting that there was interbreeding between Denisovans and the ancestors of Melanesians, just as Neanderthals appear to have interbred with the ancestors of all modern-day non-Africans.