The fossils unearthed in the Sima de los Huesos cave resembled Neanderthals, so researchers expected this mitochondrial DNA to be Neanderthal.
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Credit: David Reich et al., Nature.
Surprisingly, the mitochondrial DNA reveals this fossil shared a common ancestor not with Neanderthals, but with Denisovans, splitting from them about…Read More »
700,000 years ago. This is odd, since research currently suggests the Denisovans lived in eastern Asia, not in western Europe where this fossil was uncovered. The only known Denisovan fossils so far are a finger bone and a molar found in Siberia. Less «
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More Bone Needed
Credit: Javier Trueba, MADRID SCIENTIFIC FILMS (screengrab)
The scientists now hope to learn more about these fossils by retrieving DNA from their cell nuclei, not their mitochondria. However, this will be a huge…Read More »
challenge — the researchers needed almost 2 grams of bone to analyze mitochondrial DNA, which outnumbers nuclear DNA by several hundred times within the cell. Less «
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Before becoming managing editor, Jeanna served as a reporter for Live Science and SPACE.com for about three years. Previously she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a Master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a science journalism degree from New York University.