MessageToEagle.com - Ancient DNA has revealed that humans living some 40,000 years ago in the area near
Beijing were likely related to many present-day Asians and Native Americans
An international team of researchers including Svante Pääbo and Qiaomei Fu of the Max Planck Institute for
Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that had been extracted from
the leg of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China.
Analyses of this individual's DNA showed that the Tianyuan human shared a common origin with the ancestors
of many present-day Asians and Native Americans.
In addition, the researchers found that the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan-DNA in this early modern human
is not higher than in people living in this region nowadays.
Humans with morphology similar to present-day humans appear in the fossil record across Eurasia between 40,000 and
50,000 years ago.
The genetic relationships between these early modern humans and present-day human populations had
not yet been established.
Qiaomei Fu, Matthias Meyer and colleagues of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
in Leipzig, Germany, extracted nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a 40,000 year old leg bone found in 2003 at the
Tianyuan Cave site located outside Beijing.
For their study the researchers were using new techniques that can
identify ancient genetic material from an archaeological find even when large quantities of DNA from soil bacteria
The researchers then reconstructed a genetic profile of the leg's owner.
“This individual lived during an important evolutionary transition when early modern humans, who shared certain
features with earlier forms such as Neanderthals, were replacing Neanderthals and Denisovans, who later became
extinct”, says Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who led the study.
Credits: Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Beijing
The genetic profile reveals that this early modern human was related to the ancestors of many present-day Asians and
Native Americans but had already diverged genetically from the ancestors of present-day Europeans. In addition, the
Tianyuan individual did not carry a larger proportion of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA than present-day people in the
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