Over a year ago researchers discovered a new species of Hominin in a Siberian cave, which has left scientists baffled.
After a DNA analysis, scientists discovered traces of “denisovan” in the speicies genome, mixed with completely unidentifiable and previous unseen DNA that belonged to a new group of “people”.
The genome from a Neanderthal was also analyzed from the excavation, and the results suggest that interbreeding occurred among members of multiple ancient human-like groups in Europe and Asia more than 30,000 years ago, “including an as yet unknown human ancestor from Asia.”
“What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a Lord of the Rings type world – that there were many hominid populations.” – Mark Thomas, evolutionary geneticist at University College London.
Again, Neanderthal and Denisovan’s are believed to have bred with anatomically modern humans, thus contributing to the genetic diversity of many people today. That being said, this new discovery suggests that our genetic diversity is far more complex, and again, includes a being (or beings) that has yet to be identified.
“The best explanation is that the Denisovans interbred with an unidentified species, and picked up some of their DNA. Denisovans harbour ancestry from an unknown archaic population, unrelated to Neanderthals.” – David Reich of Harvard Medical School
Who Were These People?
The question now becomes, who were these mystery people that some of our ancestors (like the Denisovans) were interbreeding with? Could they have been a similar group? Could they have been a completely separate, entirely new species?
This finding is one small example of the many mysteries and questions that remain regarding human evolution. There is also the anomaly regarding evidence found which suggests intelligent, extremely advanced (more so than we are today) ancient human civilizations might have existed in our ancient past, from millions of years ago all the way up to recent history. Where does all that fit into the equation? That is, however, a completely separate topic for a separate article.
The amount we do know is but a tiny drop in an ocean, full of unknowns that have yet to be discovered, that will one day shed light on the mystery of human origin.