We all know what Neanderthals looked similar. Now, because of ancient DNA, Israeli scientists have unveiled the appearance of one other of our ancestors.
Very few clues exist concerning the lives of the Denisovans cousins of Neanderthals who went extinct around 50,000 years ago, three-tooth, a pink bone, and a lower jaw.
However, that was sufficient for researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to conclude their appearance.
The mission was difficult, based on Professor Liran Carmel, certainly one of two scientist’s main research.
If it had been that easy, police around the world can be pulling DNA from crime scenes and drawing up profiles of the suspects, he added.
Instead, he and his team reconstructed the appearance of the Denisovans after three years of analyzing the patterns of chemical modifications of their ancient DNA.
They then compared these motifs to those of the DNA of Neanderthals and modern man.
Using data of human disorders during which genes lose their function for anatomical features, they explored what these variations may mean.
Using this method which Carmel described as “85 % reliable,” they highlighted 56 differences between the Denisovan and modern man and Neanderthals.
Denisovan skulls had been likely wider than these of modern humans or Neanderthals, the research discovered, and they probably had no chins.
Scientists hope the new method will allow them to identify skulls found in China a couple of years ago and whose width seems to point they may be Denisovans.
Scientists do not know why these human relatives became extinct; however, believe they left some of their genomes to some modern-day men.
Up to 6 % of present-day Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians have Denisovan DNA, based on the Hebrew University.
They’re also thought to have transmitted a gene to the Tibetans permitting them to breathe at high altitude.
The fossilized jawbone of a Denisovan discovered in the mountains of Tibet proves they adapted to live at high altitude a minimum of 160,000 years ago.
The Denisovans might have made tools and even jewelry, a new analysis published in January showed.
Neanderthals migrated into regions where Denisovans lived, mentioned Erella Hovers, a prehistoric archeology professor on the Hebrew University.
Scientists even discovered a bone fragment from a young girl born from a Denisovan father and Neanderthal mother, she mentioned.
However, she added, the cultural relationships between the branches of the human family remain unclear.