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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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400 thousand year old human mtDNA from Sima de los Huesos


1 posted on 12/04/2013 12:31:08 PM PST by Theoria
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To: Theoria

Fascinating. Thanks for posting.


2 posted on 12/04/2013 12:35:48 PM PST by Natufian (t)
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To: Theoria
But instead of neatly clarifying human evolution, the finding is adding new mysteries...

The mismatch between the anatomical and genetic evidence surprised the scientists, who are now rethinking human evolution over the past few hundred thousand years...

So? Just rewrite your facts. That's what the Global Warming bozo's do. When your latest "fact" contradicts the last "fact", then roll with it.

3 posted on 12/04/2013 12:37:14 PM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Theoria

Keep trying to figure out the mind of G-d without admitting it. The arrogance of man is...less than a piece of sand on G-d’s beach and has been right about absolutely nothing.


4 posted on 12/04/2013 12:39:04 PM PST by MestaMachine (My caps work. You gotta earn them.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping, possible interest?


5 posted on 12/04/2013 12:49:14 PM PST by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Responsibility2nd
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.
6 posted on 12/04/2013 12:51:30 PM PST by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Theoria

after scientists faking 30 years of global warming research, studies and experiments do I trust anything scientists , the media , gov etc say ? NO


7 posted on 12/04/2013 12:55:07 PM PST by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Theoria

The DNA form King Tut seemed to indicate that he was Irish at first. It turned out that he is related to half of the male population of Europe destroying the out of Africa theory for the Pharaohs.


8 posted on 12/04/2013 12:55:33 PM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Theoria

Bayesian statistical methods are prone to gross errors in a priori assumptions. They are nowhere near a gold standard.

The problem with these ‘evolutionary trees’ is that the more they are circulated without discounting them for obvious overreaching inferences, the more they become mainstream to the point that they are accepted as incontrovertible.

Radio carbon dating methods have also come under increased scrutiny with an increase in uncertainty and controversy.

Science in general is undergoing a process of renewing its strict disciplines as many of the ‘results’ of the latter part of last century’s science have been compromised by politics and ideology, i.e. Lysenkoism has returned with a vengeance.


9 posted on 12/04/2013 12:58:36 PM PST by Hostage (Be Breitbart!)
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To: Theoria
It's 30 below zero wind chill in the Norther USA

scientists , the media , government have been yelling “global warming” for 30 years

i don't believe anything the media says

I don't believe anything government says

I don't believe anything scientists say

may they all go jump in the lake

long live freedom and capitalism

10 posted on 12/04/2013 1:03:53 PM PST by Democrat_media (Obama ordered IRS to rig 2012 election and must resign)
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To: Theoria
Read more at nytimes.com ...

Definitely fascinating stuff, but... if it's in the New York Times, it's most probably communist propaganda or factual material heavily slanted toward communism. I'll wait for genuine science to show up.

11 posted on 12/04/2013 1:05:15 PM PST by Standing Wolf (No tyrant should ever be allowed to die of natural causes.)
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To: Theoria
It is possible, for example, that there are many extinct human populations that scientists have yet to discover. They might have interbred, swapping DNA.

Our ancestors sure were horny and not picky.:)

12 posted on 12/04/2013 1:26:27 PM PST by C19fan
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To: mountainlion
...desroying the out of Africa theory for the Pharaohs.

The Pharaohs weren't out of Africa...they were in Africa...if you don't count an occasional campaign in western Asia.

13 posted on 12/04/2013 1:27:06 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Theoria

This doesn’t surprise me. Scientists are just like everyone else.


14 posted on 12/04/2013 1:30:14 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Theoria

I have full faith that many won’t let any new discoveries get in the way of their cool story, bro.


15 posted on 12/04/2013 1:30:22 PM PST by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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The “tree” is rooted using chimps. Didn’t Dawkins say we didn’t evolve from chimps? Or do the theories differ from scientist to scientist like the beliefs about what whales evolved from?


16 posted on 12/04/2013 1:34:07 PM PST by Hayride
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To: mountainlion

Some of the Asian finds also contradict the out of Africa theory.


17 posted on 12/04/2013 1:39:33 PM PST by meatloaf
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To: Verginius Rufus

The out of Africa theory was that civilization came out of Africa into Egypt and spread into Europe. The Egyptian Pharaohs were thought to be African not European.


18 posted on 12/04/2013 2:32:04 PM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: C19fan
Our ancestors sure were horny and not picky.:)

Well, they've traced them back to Spain now. They say the ladies are insane there. ;^)

19 posted on 12/04/2013 2:32:38 PM PST by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: Theoria
Excellent Article. Thanks

Denisova Hominin

Denisova hominins /dəˈniːsəvə/, or Denisovans, are Paleolithic-era members of a species of Homo or subspecies of Homo sapiens. In March 2010, scientists announced the discovery of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile female who lived about 41,000 years ago, found in the remote Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, a cave which has also been inhabited by Neanderthals and modern humans.[1][2][3] Two teeth and a toe bone belonging to different members of the same population have since been reported. On 4 December 2013, scientists reported that they had retrieved ancient Denisova DNA from a hominin femur fossil found in Spain dating back about 400,000 years.[4]

Analysis of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the finger bone showed it to be genetically distinct from the mtDNAs of Neanderthals and modern humans.[5] Subsequent study of the nuclear genome from this specimen suggests that this group shares a common origin with Neanderthals, that they ranged from Siberia to Southeast Asia, and that they lived among and interbred with the ancestors of some present-day modern humans, with up to 6% of the DNA of Melanesians and Australian Aborigines deriving from Denisovans.[6][7] A comparison with the genome of a Neanderthal from the same cave revealed significant local interbreeding, with local Neanderthal DNA representing 17% of the Denisovan genome, while evidence was also detected of interbreeding with an as yet unidentified ancient human lineage.[8] Similar analysis of a toe bone discovered in 2011 is underway,[9] while analysis of DNA from two teeth found in different layers than the finger bone revealed an unexpected degree of mtDNA divergence among Denisovans

(snip)

20 posted on 12/04/2013 4:38:35 PM PST by blam
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