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DNA from thigh bone in Spain similar to Denisovian DNA[edit]

400,000 Years, Oldest Human DNA Yet Found Raises New Mysteries

From the article: "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." Beutelevision (talk) 19:58, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps better to say that the Sima mtDNA is closer to Denisovan mtDNA, than to Neandertal or anatomically modern human mtDNA, but the difference between the Sima and Denisovan mtDNA is roughly comparable to the distance between Neandertal and AM human mtDNA. See the chart at Dienekes Anthropology Blog for December 4, 2013 (I've not linked directly to that day's blog as I suspect the chart is copied from the article in Nature). And this, of course, says nothing about autosomal DNA. -- Donald Albury 17:16, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
And an interesting discussion at John D. Hawks' blog: The Denisova-Sima de los Huesos connection. For some reason I wasn't able to connect to his blog last night or this morning, or I would have cited it earlier. He does state what I referred to above: Although they are on the same mtDNA clade, the difference between Sima and Denisova sequences is about as large as the difference between Neandertal and living human sequences. He also disceusses It would not be fair to say that Denisova and Sima represent a single population, any more than that Neandertals and living people do. He also has something to say about this one sample of DNA fits into the general picture of our genetic history. This is a blog, but Hawks is an established paleo-anthropologist, and I think use of the blog as a reliable source is defensible, but I will leave it to discussion here. -- Donald Albury 18:52, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
It's not clear that Denisova would be more "primitive" than Heidelbergensis or would be between Heidelbergensis and Neanderthal. Can we make this clearer? Kortoso (talk) 22:45, 7 March 2016 (UTC)


It is perhaps a coincidence that this historically very recent non human should be found in the very mountains where the Almas (AKA Yeti) has been reported. (talk) 08:38, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

This "non-human" bone is at least 300,000 years old.(A mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos) -- Donald Albury 17:20, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
In other words, yes it is a coincidence. Kortoso (talk) 22:46, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

Homo rhodesiensis, the ancestror of Homo sapiens ?[edit]

FYI, I read somewhere in a scientific magazine, that we usually admit (like in your graphic showing the spread of humans) that Homo sapiens is the direct descendant of Homo heidelbergensis. Indeed, both species lived locally on the same area at a few ten of thousands years apart. However, new analysis reveal that Homo sapiens would descent directly from Homo rhodesiensis whose descendants left directly Africa (they trajectory across Northern Africa is not documented) and does not follow the track left behinf them their common ancestor, Homo antecessor. As we say in this case, all track are opened. -- luxorion

I've been reading about that and Rhodesian man is most likely a transitional period between Humans and Neanderthals Dunkleosteus77 (talk) 18:39, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

More like Homo rhodesiensis = Homo heidelbergensis -> Neanderthal -> Homo sapiens. Kortoso (talk) 22:55, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

Scientific Name?[edit]

This article makes it seem like this is a proven species but it doesn't list the scientific name anywhere which is really confusing. -- (talk) 20:30, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

The scientific name has not yet been assigned. There are ongoing studies trying to place Denisovan in the correct evolutionary context and lineage. But homimin lineage looks increasingly diverging and converging between species (read: interspecies "hanky-panky"). Human evolution was not linear, but the product of multiple hybrid experiments. I understand there is a suggested classification of the 3 groups: modern human, Neanderthal and homo altaiensis (Denisova). But all of them have been shown to have interbred. BatteryIncluded (talk) 21:42, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
This is no doubt true, but the name Homo sp. Altai is used by a few sources, including a Wellcome Trust site, so I will add this to the article. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:01, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I modified the article to avoid using lowercase in these (sub)specific epithets. These are not formal taxonomic names - Denisovans have not been described formally. I would argue that the best way to refer to these would be Homo sp. 'Altai' and Homo sapiens ssp. 'Denisova'. Generally speaking, these names should avoid looking like they are actual, formal scientific names. I would argue that neither italics nor lowercase is appropriate (that should be reserved for real scientific names), but acknowledge that the Altai reference uses italics and the other two are ambiguous. None of the references use lowercase. --Aranae (talk) 22:36, 28 January 2018 (UTC)
Lets just call them all humans. Me myself I prefer calling all 3 subspecies of Homo sapien but others will call them other species for various reasons. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:34, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
We don't make editorial decisions based on personal preference. Agricolae (talk) 02:51, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Stone bracelet[edit]

Perhaps this Denisova bracelet is notable enough to be included? Stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world (May 2015). Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 22:06, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

I think we would need a more reliable source, especially as modern humans also used the cave, so its connection with the Denisovans may be debatable. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:31, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Hmmm... "Scientists found that a hole had been drilled in part of the bracelet with such precision that it could only have been done with a high-rotation drill similar to those used today."[1]
Some of that science stuff: "The bracelet is not attributable to Denisovans with any degree of certainty. There is no such thing as a “Denisovan layer” at 40,000 B.P. when we know there was breeding between Denisovans and Homo sapiens sapiens. They were in fact co-existing and more, so the presence of a Denisovan bone does not exclude the presence of Homo sapiens sapiens if we accept the 40k soil date as equal to the bracelet date."[2]

Kortoso (talk) 22:59, 7 March 2016 (UTC)


Denisovan genes in Native South Americans - Via Oceania travellers[edit]

  • "Denisovan ancestry in East Eurasian and Native American populations." Qin, P. & Stoneking, M. Mol. Biol. Evol. (2015). (Full text: [1]).
  • Genetic evidence for two founding populations of the Americas. Nature 525, 104–108 (03 September 2015) doi:10.1038/nature14895 Received 05 February 2015 Accepted 14 July 2015 Published online 21 July 2015

Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 22:28, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

It would not be at all surprising if native Americans have Denisova NA, but I think it is a bit early to change the article. The first paper is a pre-print, and presumably not peer reviewed, and the second does not mention the Denisovans in the abstract, which is the only part I can access. Still it is very interesting, and hopefully someone (John Hawks?) will produce comments we can use. Dudley Miles (talk) 00:18, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it is very premature to include it. Further work on population genetics is needed, and then there is the interpretation. If there is no impact in the scientific community, there will be no change in this article. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 15:05, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Some older finds may or may not belong to the Denisovan line[edit]

What exactly does this paragraph serve? Idle speculation? Kortoso (talk) 22:39, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

New paper[edit]

Quote: "Reconstruction of this genetic history suggests that Neandertals bred with modern humans multiple times, but Denosivans only once, in ancestors of modern-day Melanesians."

Excavating Neandertal and Denisovan DNA from the genomes of Melanesian individuals. ([2]). Science Vol 352, Issue 6282; 8 April 2016. Cheers, BatteryIncluded (talk) 01:16, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

"low coverage"[edit]

The article to which this term links, never uses it. Either explain what it means here, or edit the other article. As it reads now, this is not comprehensible. (talk) 20:28, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

The linked article, in the section Coverage (genetics)#Ultra-deep sequencing, defines "higher coverage" as ">100-fold" sequencing. I would therefore interpret "low-coverage" as less than 100-fold. If you feel that this does not adequately explain what "low-coverage" is, you can request clarification of the term on Talk:Coverage (genetics). - Donald Albury 00:10, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
It is not clear that the linked article is talking about the same thing. Some scientists distinguish between depth, which is the number of times a nucleotide is read to reduce errors, and coverage, which means the proportion of the genome which is sequenced. The coverage article appears to treat it as synonymous with depth, whereas the Denisovan article seems to mean by coverage the proportion of the genome which has survived to be sequenced. Does anyone know whether I have got this right? Dudley Miles (talk) 13:55, 14 June 2018 (UTC)
Looking at the second source cited for the heading of the table, I see that in one place they mention a 51-fold coverage, but later seem to use low-coverage to mean that only a small part of the genome from a specimen could be sequenced. I'm not an expert, and now realize that I understand less about this than I thought I did. - Donald Albury 18:26, 14 June 2018 (UTC)