The mysterious hominids who sexually interacted with our ancestors

The story of human evolution has just become more bizarre than before. Genetic analysis suggests that the modern man has paired with the Neanderthals, the Denisians, and yet another unknown species. A new sequencing of the genome of the two missing human relatives suggests that these "archaic" groups have sexually interacted with each other as well as with the modern man more than previously thought.

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The two genomes, from a Neanderthal man and from a member of an archaic, deniscient community, were presented on November 18th in London at a meeting of the Royal Society scientific community. These suggest that mating occurred among several archaic groups of hominids who lived in Europe and Asia more than 30,000 years ago. One of these groups consisted of hominids, ancestors of modern man, still unidentified. "The findings begin to suggest that we are looking at a world like the one in the" Lord of the Rings, "populated by several species of hominids," said Mark Thomas, evolutionary geneticist at University College London.

Traces of the existence of this alleged new human ancestor have been found in the denizovan genome. But no one knows what the denizens looked like because too many fossils have been discovered. But these findings are based on sequences of the poor quality genome, so David Reich, evolutionist genetics at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, has done a more detailed, high-quality sequencing of the genome denisovan. The genome shows that the denizens were the cousins ​​of the Neanderthal people, but this was already known. Their descendants departed from ours about 400,000 years ago, before dividing the denizens and the Neanderthals. The genome also indicates that this mysterious population of hominids did well on Earth and mingled with modern humans as well as with Neanderthals. "Who are these prehistoric people I did not know about before? We do not have the slightest idea, "said Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the Museum of Natural History in London.

But not everyone in the scientific world agrees with Chris Stringer. Geneticist Johannes Krause, from Tübingen University in Germany, thinks that this mysterious hominid species is not a new one, but one already identified, most probably Homo heidelbergensis, a hominid species that lived 600,000-250,000 years ago, populated Africa, stretching across Europe and West Asia. Their area explains the interaction with denizens.
Whoever these mysterious hominids are, they reinforce the idea that mating was a common and important thing in human evolution.

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