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At 400,000 Years, Oldest Human DNA Yet Found Raises New Mysteries
The New York Times ^ | 04 Dec 2013 | Carl Zimmer

Posted on 12/04/2013 12:31:08 PM PST by Theoria

Scientists have found the oldest DNA evidence yet of humans’ biological history. But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries.

In a paper in the journal Nature, scientists reported Wednesday that they had retrieved ancient human DNA from a fossil dating back about 400,000 years, shattering the previous record of 100,000 years.

The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans. Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found.

The mismatch between the anatomical and genetic evidence surprised the scientists, who are now rethinking human evolution over the past few hundred thousand years. It is possible, for example, that there are many extinct human populations that scientists have yet to discover. They might have interbred, swapping DNA. Scientists hope that further studies of extremely ancient human DNA will clarify the mystery.

“Right now, we’ve basically generated a big question mark,” said Matthias Meyer, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a co-author of the new study.

Hints at new hidden complexities in the human story came from a 400,000-year-old femur found in a cave in Spain called Sima de los Huesos (“the pit of bones” in Spanish). The scientific team used new methods to extract the ancient DNA from the fossil.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: ancestry; denisovans; dna; fauxiantrolls; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; homofloresiensis; idiotsonfr; matthiasmeyer; mtdna; neandertal; neandertals; neanderthal; neanderthals
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To: Theoria
Sima de los Huesos in Spain


21 posted on 12/04/2013 5:04:38 PM PST by Dysart (Obamacare: "We are losing money on every subscriber-- but we will make it up in volume!")
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To: blam

I’ve always wondered about the authorities you find truthful - NYT says it all now don’t it?!?!

:’)


22 posted on 12/04/2013 5:08:18 PM PST by BrandtMichaels
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To: BrandtMichaels
I don't like/trust the NYT either but:

They're quoting this article in Nature.

23 posted on 12/04/2013 5:23:23 PM PST by blam
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To: Darksheare; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

Thanks Darksheare.
The fossil, a thigh bone found in Spain, had previously seemed to many experts to belong to a forerunner of Neanderthals. But its DNA tells a very different story. It most closely resembles DNA from an enigmatic lineage of humans known as Denisovans. Until now, Denisovans were known only from DNA retrieved from 80,000-year-old remains in Siberia, 4,000 miles east of where the new DNA was found.
Gosh, it's almost as if each of us loses half of the genetic information found in our parents, just as they lost half of their parents', etc. And best of all, that means that we don't get the same amount from each of our grandparents, and this process works for each previous and subsequent generation -- basically, we have 46 family trees which follow back along each half of each chromosome. By the time we reach those 64 4th-great-grandparents, at least 18 of them have passed down nothing at all.

24 posted on 12/04/2013 6:06:46 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: blam

[singing] Blame it on the Denisovans, the hominins...


25 posted on 12/04/2013 6:09:11 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: SunkenCiv
By the time we reach those 64 4th-great-grandparents, at least 18 of them have passed down nothing at all.

At least not to you, but perhaps to your cousins, second cousins, third cousins, nth cousins...

26 posted on 12/04/2013 6:10:14 PM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: null and void; SunkenCiv

for most people participation in this physical plane is devolution


27 posted on 12/04/2013 6:18:00 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: SunkenCiv

sorry...just couldn't resist...

28 posted on 12/04/2013 7:05:39 PM PST by Fred Nerks (fair dinkum)
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To: Fred Nerks

Thanks. Way too funny. Must be the coffee.


29 posted on 12/04/2013 8:28:42 PM PST by Theoria (Obama lied. My health care died.)
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To: mountainlion
I once heard a lecture by an "Afrocentric" professor who insisted that Egypt is part of Africa, not part of the "Middle East," which gives African-Americans bragging rights (because Africa had developed civilization before Europe).

DNA studies seem to indicate that Homo sapiens originated in Africa, so all human beings are "out of Africa."

Actually, the DNA studies were not needed. One of my high school classmates proved it from the Bible. Adam named all the animals, so the Garden of Eden must have been in Africa for him to name the lion.

30 posted on 12/04/2013 8:34:25 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: blam; Theoria; SunkenCiv; no-to-illegals; All

Here is another really interesting and very long article focusing on the Denisovans and their tine and distance relationship to Neanderthals, modern humans, Chimpanzees, etc.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v468/n7327/full/nature09710.html

I hope this is the right one, it is really late and I am too tired to check. Maybe tomorrow.


31 posted on 12/05/2013 12:25:13 AM PST by gleeaikin
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS; Theoria
AEMILIUS PAULUS: "As the new finds roll in it is becoming increasingly obvious that the human evolutionists should have the intellectual honesty to admit that at present they do not know how Homo Sapiens came into being.
I'm no man is 6000 years old fanatic.
It is OK for science to admit they do not know."

Strictly speaking, science itself claims to know nothing -- zero, zip, nada -- beyond what it actually knows through confirmed observations (aka "facts") and hypotheses (aka "theories").
Even they are subject to epistemic and ontological questioning (i.e., "are you certain?").

Out beyond those is nothing but doubt and speculations, what Isaac Newton called the: "great ocean of truth [which] lay all undiscovered before me. "

32 posted on 12/05/2013 5:54:47 AM PST by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective....)
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To: gleeaikin
The truth is ... of what is known by we that exist on planet Earth. Is not pretty but is the truth.

What we know to be true fills ten pages in one very small book. What we do not know fills infinite volumes of books in infinite libraries on infinite planets.

As said ... is not pretty but is the truth and being the intelligent person you are gleeaikin, I have to believe you knew this truth, thus pardon my wasted post.

33 posted on 12/05/2013 6:20:35 AM PST by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: Theoria

courtesy ping.


34 posted on 12/05/2013 6:22:50 AM PST by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: Democrat_media
may they all go jump in the Frozen lake
35 posted on 12/05/2013 6:26:22 AM PST by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: Verginius Rufus

There were Lions in Syria and Persia (Iran) in ancient times. DNA has caused many to call into question the out of Africa theory, that is all it is is a theory.


36 posted on 12/05/2013 6:28:57 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Fred Nerks

So dang funny. Liberals must have that frame-stamped into their minds.


37 posted on 12/05/2013 6:32:51 AM PST by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: gleeaikin; Theoria; SunkenCiv
Ancient Humans Had Sex With A Mystery Species (Not Neanderthals Or Denisovans)
38 posted on 12/05/2013 6:35:02 AM PST by blam
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To: mountainlion
Herodotus claims that Xerxes' pack-camels were attacked by lions (in Macedonia) and describes an area of the Balkans which supposedly abounded in lions (7.125-126).

There's the Lion Gate at Mycenae and the story of Heracles (Hercules) and the Nemean lion (Nemea is in the same region of Greece as Mycenae), but I don't know if there is any physical evidence for lions in Greece or the Balkans.

39 posted on 12/05/2013 9:00:44 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: AEMILIUS PAULUS
It is OK for science to admit they do not know.

Science, and scientists do.

If someone doesn't, they aren't scientists, no matter their claim.

40 posted on 12/05/2013 9:42:00 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (Damn ObamaCare, full speed ahead!)
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