Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the ancestors of modern humans diverged from an archaic lineage that gave rise to Neanderthals and Denisovans. Yet the evolutionary relationships between these groups remain unclear.
A University of Utah-led team developed a new method for analyzing DNA sequence data to reconstruct the early history of the archaic human populations. They revealed an evolutionary story that contradicts conventional wisdom about modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans.
The study found that the Neanderthal-Denisovan lineage nearly went extinct after separating from modern humans. Just 300 generations later, Neanderthals and Denisovans diverged from each other around 744,000 years ago. Then, the global Neanderthal population grew to tens of thousands of individuals living in fragmented, isolated populations scattered across Eurasia.
“This hypothesis is against conventional wisdom, but it makes more sense than the conventional wisdom.” said Alan Rogers, professor in the Department of Anthropology and lead author of the study that will publish online on August 7, 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Paper. (public access) – Alan R. Rogers, Ryan J. Bohlender, and Chad D. Huff. Early history of Neanderthals and Denisovans. PNAS, August 2017 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706426114 More.
Not to raise the bar on you guys, but lots of heresies about human evolution make more sense than the Correct Pronouncements. Keep on keeping on!
See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents
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