WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Denisovans, the extinct cousins in Neanderthals and our own species, are surprised to be presented with a horror in a Tibet Plateau cave in China, including pioneering high-lasting environments. height.
Fossil of the right half of Denisovan's lower jaw, human species are extinct, found in Xiahe County, Gansu Province, China, appeared in this picture issued from Lanzhou University on May 1, 2019. Courtesy of Dongju Zhang / Lanzhou University / Sheet three REUTERS
Scientists put down Wednesday the new central fossil: the right half of a juvenile lower jaw, including two teeth, dating from 160,000 years ago.
Denisovan's only fossils were previously known than three teeth and some of the bone fragments exposed 1,500 miles (2,400 km) away in Siberia at a site called Denisova cave.
The Chinese fossil, which received a Buddhist monk in 1980 in Xiahe county of China and subsequently came to scientists, showed interesting details about Denisovans' geographical spread, their physical appearance and unexpected ability to overcome extreme environments.
The fossil from Baishiya Karst cave, located 10,760 feet (3,280 meters) above sea level, showed that Denisovans had not only been widely distributed in the East East once but also had people living in a location. uneasy high oxygen.
“It must have been very difficult to live there as a hunter-gatherer, and still managed to be there,” said Frido Welker, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Copenhagen, one of the researchers in the study published in Nature magazine. .
Our species, Homo sapiens, did not include that area until about 40,000 years ago, and first appeared in Africa just over 300,000 years ago.
“Denisovans may have adapted to a wide variety of different environments,” archaeologist Dongju Zhang from Lanzhou University of China said.
The researchers were not able to extract DNA from the fossil, but they removed proteins from one of the molars to determine Denisovan's identity.
“Proteins can survive about 10 times longer than DNA in fossils,” said paleoanthropologist Jean-Jacques Hublin from Max Planck for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.
The proteins came from collagen, some of its connective tissue in body parts including dentin, some of the teeth.
Denisovans were not aware of the fact that researchers in 2010 announced that Siberian relics were found, while DNA tests showed that they were a joint group for Neanderthals, the sharply constructed human species living in parts of Eurasia. Both had significant interactions with Homo sapiens, including interbreeding, before being destroyed for reasons that were not fully understood.
The new fossil gives tips about Denisovans' appearance. “The chin area is strong and the teeth were very large,” said Hublin.
Some modern modern Asian populations, particularly in Papua New Guinea, have small but significant amounts of DNA derived from Denisovans, suggesting a broad geographical presence.
Reporting by Will Dunham; Edited by Sandra Maler
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