A Mysterious Human Ancestor Discovered in the Australian Family Tree

An unknown type of hominin, mated with early human ancestors when they migrated from Africa to Australia, was identified by the genome mapping of living people.
Many different kinds of people once lived in the world. A: Penny Tweedie / Panos Pictures
The genome analysis also brings forward the view that those coming to the Asia-Pacific region are spreading with a single migration from Africa, causing us to question the view that they came from Africa in two waves.

Modern people first left Africa 60,000 years ago, some migrating to Europe and some to the Asia-Pacific region. Previous studies of living people's genome analysis revealed that the Asia-Pacific inhabitants mated with the genome and the two hominin species (Neanderthals and Denisovans) they encountered in that area.
A mysterious lineage

However, Jaume Bertranpetit and his teammates; When Australian natives, Papuans analyzed the genome of humans in the Andaman Islands near India and in the mainland of India, they found sequences that did not match the DNA of the hominin species identified earlier.

(DNA of an Unknown Human Species Found in Africans)

The DNA sequences mentioned above were not found in the genome of today's European and East Asians. This also tells us shows that the ancestor of these people met with the unspecified hominin in South Asia and the Pacific region and left its genetic legacy to today's living populations.

This hominin, which has not yet been identified, may be Homo erectus, says Bertranpetit. It is thought that Homo erectus was the first hominin to leave Africa and has physical properties similar to today's people.

Ancient DNA is needed

Fossil records indicate that Homo erectus lived in Asia between 1.8 million years and 33,000 years ago. This shows that Homo erectus may have lived in the same regions in the same time period as people towards the last period.

"But we have no direct evidence of this issue," Bertranpetit said. says. To verify this, there must be a match between the ancient DNA of Homo erectus and the DNA of Australasian peoples.

"Unfortunately, no Homo erectus fossils uncovered so far have provided sufficient genomic information to make such a comparison," said Alan Cooper, from Adelaide University, Australia. We will not be able to perform a complete genome analysis, as we did in Denisovans, until a sufficiently well-preserved fossil was found. ” says.

There are many different groups

Thanks to the fingerbone fossil, which was preserved in a cave in Siberia, the Denisova genome was obtained. However, it is very difficult to obtain such findings especially in Asia, which has a very warm climate. "It can be very difficult to find another well-preserved hominin in Asia." says Cooper.

(Surprising Amount of Neanderthal DNA Released in Africans)

“One of the things that complicates this event is that many unknown hominin species should be mixed with ancient DNA. If this is the case, I wouldn't be surprised at all. Because Asia, I was a complete impulse considering the number of different groups living in the same time period. ” says Cooper.

"Asia contained many more types of hominins than Europe."

“Many studies on the Australian and Asian genome point to the same point. Modern people left Africa in one go. ” says Cooper.

“Those who turned west turned towards Europe, and the rest turned east. Because there were hominins, Denisovans, Neanderthals, and the third group that we could not name now, living in these regions. So things got very complicated in Asia. ”


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