CAIRO – 5 December 2021: Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of three Denisovans and a Neanderthal dating back 200,000 years in a Siberian cave.
Newly discovered fossils have been unearthed from the famous Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains, southern Siberia, and found surrounded by archaeological remains such as stone tools and fossilized food waste.
Neanderthals are a close ancestor of humans who lived in Europe and western Asia about 400,000 to 40,000 years ago, while not much is known about the Denisovans, other than that they were among another group of early humans who lived in Asia at least 80,000 years ago.
According to the British Daily Mail, the new Denisovan bones date back 200,000 years, and are among the oldest human fossils ever genetically sequenced.
The fact that both Neanderthal and Denisovan remains were found together raises questions about whether the two ancient human species lived together there in Siberia.
The new findings are detailed in Nature Ecology and Evolution by an international team led by researchers from the Universities of Vienna and Tübingen, and the Max Planck Society in Munich, Germany.
In all, five hominin bones were found in the cave, including four that contained enough DNA to analyze and identify mitochondria - three Denisovans and one Neanderthals.