The ancient human species known as Denisovans were first identified by fossil fragments in Siberia. More were found in Tibet. And although Denisovans disappeared as a species 50,000 years ago, DNA studies show that traces of Denisovan DNA exist today in people throughout southeast Asia. And now scientists have finally found a Denisovan fossil in southeast Asia, in Laos to be exact. Samples of sediment removed in 2018 from Tam Ngu Hao 2, also known as Cobra Cave, contain animal teeth and a human child’s molar. The tooth, estimated to be 164,000 to 131,000 years old, is almost certainly Denisovan. It shares some morphological dimensions of Neanderthal teeth, but no remains of Neanderthals have ever been discovered that far south in Asia.
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We know that several human species inhabited Asia at one time or another, including Denisovans, H. erectus, H. neanderthalenis, H. floresiensis, H. luzonensis, and H. sapiens. We also know that they interbred, although the exact timeline of the interactions between each species is not yet clear. Read more about the new Denisovan identification at Archaeology World. -via Strange Company
(Image credit: Fabrice Demeter, et al)