Humans Inherited Genetic Traits From Interbreeding With Archaic Humans

Image Credit: Vincent Lit/Flickr: CC BY 2.0

This Newfound Extinct Human Lineage Also Mated with Modern Humans

By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor

A newfound extinct human lineage that lived in New Guinea interbred with modern humans, a new study finds.

This lineage’s genetic differences from other humans made it as distinct a group as our closest extinct relatives, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, scientists added.

Although modern humans are now the only living branch of the human family tree, others not only lived alongside modern humans, but even interbred with them, leaving behind DNA in the modern human genome. These archaic lineages not only included the Neanderthals, the closest extinct relatives of modern humans, but also the mysterious Denisovans, known only from fossils unearthed in the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia.

The mysterious Denisovans are known only from fossils unearthed in the Denisova Cave, shown here, in the Altai Mountains in Siberia.
Credit: Bence Viola, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

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The scientists detailed their findings online yesterday (April 11) in the journal Cell.

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  1. Probably some horny teenagers went slumming. Know what I mean jelly bean! Those Neanderthals were party animals. But Denisova Cave was where you could really denigrate your DNA.

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