Newly Discovered DNA: An Evolutionary Puzzle
Our DNA defines who we are – literally. But a recent discovery that found the oldest sample of DNA closely related to humans has put up new questions on how we actually came to be. The newly-discovered fossil, which was dated to be 400,000 years old – pre-dating the previously known oldest fossil by 100,000 years – poses some questions regarding our existence as a species.
The study was reported in the journal Nature. Found in Spain, the fossil was initially believed to be from someone with a Neanderthal lineage, but its DNA tells a different the story. The fossil’s DNA cryptically parallels those of the hominid race known as the Denisovans. This lineage is only known from a DNA recovered from remains in Siberia, which about 6,400km east where the recent DNA was located.
The researchers found that there was a discrepancy in the fossil’s anatomical and genetic information, causing scientists to reassess the evolution of man. Some speculate that DNAs could have merged since, over centuries, Denisovans and Neanderthals may have actually met and intermixed. There are still diverse kinds of human race which are yet to be discovered. A geneticist from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany said that at this point in time, there is still a big question among them.
Clues of the newly found human history came from a pit of bones found in Spain named Sima de los Huesos, which is believed to be about 400,000 years old. The DNA of the latter was correlated to the Denisovans as it was found to be identical to previously found samples. The new findings between the story of human evolution that grounds on the artifacts of fossils and antediluvian DNA has been difficult to resolve since Denisovans were supposed to originate in East Asia only and these race were remarkably different from Neanderthals.
Out of Africa
According to the studies, scientists settled that the ancestors of humans have common relations between the Denisovans and Neanderthals which are said to live in Africa half a million years ago. Due to the division of human lineage, the ancestors of Denisovans and Neanderthals left Africa almost 300,000 years ago. Evidence and facts theorized that the Denisovans went east and the Neanderthals moved to the west going towards Europe.