Denisovans - A new breed of Man who Interbred with Humans An Exciting New Discovery for Archaeology

A New Breed of Human Discovered!

Throughout history, man has been searching for his ancestors and the knowledge of where we came from. Up until the last 100 years, archaeology was a painstaking process, with hardly anybody qualified to understand what they had discovered, or even know what to do with it when they did. There was no DNA mapping, very little knowledge of dating the finds and more importantly, hardly anyone with the know how to even recognise important finds. We have been raised to believe that humans were a single species that evolved from monkeys. In recent years, with our science and technology bounding forward at a great speed, we have been able to see archaeology much more clearly. And more importantly, record and study every find. In the past ten years we have discovered a new breed of human which has been called the Hobbit, or scientifically named, Homo Floresiensis. This discovery caused major excitement. Now there were three. Modern man, Homo Floresiensis and of course the famous Neanderthal found in Germany in the last century. But now there is a fourth. The Denisovan.

The Denisovan was discovered in the Denisova cave in southern Siberia. The Russian led team found a 30,000 year old fossil finger bone of a young girl, and a tooth fragment. When they took the specimens back to the lab for forensic testing, they found, to their astonishment, that the DNA didn't match any known human. It was completely distinct from Human and Neanderthal! Imagine the excitement of this new discovery! We have been aware for some time that we came from a specific bloodline or breed of human, but each and every new discovery makes us more aware of how little we do know. This was another ancient cousin of the human being!

30,000-40,000 year old Young Denisovan girl's Finger bone and tooth

Do the Descendants Live Today?

So it seems that human evolution is not so straight forward as we believed. It is only through recent study that we have discovered the fact that we are interbred with Neanderthals. As we have all seen in the news recently, Ozzy Osbourne is in fact part Neanderthal! And obviously he isn't the only one. Now we have a new DNA in the mix. Denisovans. So what does this mean? Apart from our physiology, there is a possibility that Neanderthals and Denisovans also produced a new breed together. Anthropologist Bence Viola, who works at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig Germany, states that:

'We think the Denisovan population inhabited most of eastern Eurasia, in the same way that Neanderthals inhabited most of western Eurasian. Our idea is that the ancestors of Melanesians met the Denisovans in southeast asia, and interbred. And the ancestors of Melanesians then moved on to Papua New Guinea.

The Cave where the bones were found

Artists first Impression

What this seems to mean is that living islanders today, in parts of Papua New Guinea may be distant descendants of the prehistoric groups! Evidently scientists had collected what is called mitochondrial DNA which comes only from a woman. It is not so easy to track and study as male DNA, as it is a relatively new way to study the female line. So, after further intense studies, they discovered, to their astonishment, that the new DNA was neither modern human or Neanderthal. It is nearer in structure to Neanderthals. They believe that Denisovans split from the parent group of Neanderthals approx 350,000 years ago.


There Be Giants

Archaeologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences, who excavated the site, discovered a rather strange tooth. It is bigger than any modern human tooth. And even stranger, it is also bigger than a Neanderthal tooth! It seems from this deduction, that this new breed were much larger than modern humans and their Neanderthal counterparts!

So is this the giant of myth and legend? Have we at last found real evidence of human like creatures that roamed the earth before and during mans first steps? More importantly, is this where we get our memories of giants roaming the earth, which in fact were even mentioned in the bible?

George Washington University Richmond, airs on the side of caution. They stated that: 'The tooth size isn't always a good indicator of body size. A Hominin can have big teeth and not be a giant'.

Denisova Cave Entrance

It seems that we won't know for at least a while whether it really is a completely separate species, or a branch of modern man. At the moment scientists seem to be leaning towards the separate species idea. Just because the DNA is similar to modern humans, doesn't mean that we did interbreed with them. We shall have to wait and see. Their theory is that if they are a separate species then modern man could not have mated and produced children. But are we certain of that? If the genetics are similar, then surely there is a possibility that we could.

Archaeology and science have a long way to go to figure out exactly how modern man evolved, and who we are related to.

From the depths of time, prehistoric man still holds it's secrets. How many more amazing discoveries will we find?.

Comments 85 comments

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 10 months ago from England Author

Wow, thank you Michael! how fascinating! Yes you are right! people should live with them without saying they are scientists, it would be so much more natural. That must be amazing to live with them, and thank you for adding such interesting info, nell

Michael G from Darwin Australia 10 months ago

To suggest that Australia and Papua New Guinea have 3 to 5 percent Denisovan genome would be inaccurate, scientists need to live with both groups for at least one year to study behaviors. The Papuans planted crops and made societies with clan groups the Aborigines also have clan groups but no crops or gardens, they're clans breed to close to home with they're social moities,they're courting is on a incestuous level, neurologically they don't seem to evolve and learn as to take in information,you can teach a full blood Aboriginal to cook and clean the house 100 times in a 105 days but they will still not clean the house and will not remember how they were shown how to cook . They're bodies grow weak and they will tend to steal other people's food(non Aboriginal) .They believe in black magic ,incest, selfish behavior, have no shame to ask anybody for money for they're bad habits,even a person that clearly despises them a stranger walking past.They have nuisance behavior and thought patterns of a unholy nature, I've lived amongst them for 15 years and I can speak four of the Arnhemland dialects fluently. I love them and I know a lot of Papuans also and I stayed in Port Mosby for two years,I'm studying for a Batchelor of Social Science and my theory is that Australian Aborigines may actually be 100 percent Denisovan( the missing link). I invite behavioral scientists to live with Aborigines in a anonymously fashion without telling them that they're scientists and study they're behavior quietly whilst pretending to be regular people.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Well they do say that homo sapiens have four genetic traits in them, homo sapien, denisovan, neanderthal and one 'lost' one, mayb Nephillim?! lol! you never know.....!

DanArt 2 years ago

Prehistory...the murky mists of that shroud the dawn of time...the age of Hyperborean Warriors...the mighty men of old, the men of renown...the Nephilim.

samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 4 years ago

Hi Nell

If you are interested in dinosaurs and paleontology check out my hub. :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Green Bard, thanks so much, yes there are many new human species being found, it will be interesting to see the next one that is discovered, just goes to show that the 'hobbits' homo floresiensis, and the denisovans are they stuff of legend that are really true, and has been proved, thanks again, nell

Green Bard profile image

Green Bard 4 years ago from Tenerife

I had heard about the Denisovans before somewhere and am well aware that what we are taught as the accepted history of man is not the whole truth by any means but is only a patched together version they want us to accept. I have voted up and tagged as Interesting.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Wesman, yes I know what you mean. I think there will always be disputes, but saying that I think its a good thing that people have more than one idea of whats going on this way we have more chance of finding out the truth about these people, thanks for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Wesman, yes I know what you mean. I think there will always be disputes, but saying that I think its a good thing that people have more than one idea of whats going on this way we have more chance of finding out the truth about these people, thanks for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi andromida, thanks so much for reading, and I am glad you liked it, cheers nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi Neanderthal Larry, er sorry Larry! lol! thanks for reading, I will have to go and look that one up too. Its amazing how many different sub species of human there are or were. I particularly like the Homofloresiensis (Hobbit)! we always said there were little people! thanks again, nell

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

A bit thanks JK, but I must stop lifting painting climbing into the top cupboards and just about everything else and have a bit of decorum! lol!

JKenny profile image

JKenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

That's alright Nell. Hope your back feels better :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England Author

Hi JKenny, thanks for the link and sorry it took me so long to answer, bad back! ouch! lol! I will go and take a look at the link, and thanks!

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Very interesting, Nell - one thing I know from constantly writing about animals, is that there are more disputes in evolutionary biology than there are answers. I'm sure this will lead to brand new disputes, and also, a lot of folks that will see what they want to see.

andromida profile image

andromida 4 years ago

From the News media we get very little about these type of fascinating discoveries.I guess there are a lot that we still need to know to explain how we evolved into homo sapiens.thanks a lot.

Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

Hi Nell,

Voted up, interesting, and shared. The Denisovan discovery shows that human evolution is not as neat and tidy as some would prefer. You've done a great job in writing this chapter of our story.

The 40 thousand year old remains of Mungo Man in New South Wales is another enigma. His mitochondrial DNA is completely different from that of any modern humans. Yet his taller-than-average skeleton is completely modern in appearance.

If we include Mr Mungo, the putative Mitochondrial Eve for all modern-appearing humans is considerably older than we once thought. And that suggests multiple migrations of our distant ancestors from Africa.

Cheers, Neanderthal Larry

JKenny profile image

JKenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

By the way, that anonymous comment was from me, I don't know why it came up like that. Voted up and shared.

anonymous 4 years ago

Hi Nell, fascinating article, its amazing to think that we once shared the planet with several other species of human. Recently, I don't know if you've heard, but they've discovered a possible fifth species. Here's the link if you're interested:

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Huntgoddess, lol! sorry they never had pants in those days! thanks for reading! cheers nell

Hi, Rose, that's okay, I just got myself confused! lol everything in science has two sides or arguments to it, it wouldn't work if we all had the same opinion, thats what makes science push forward, thanks for taking time to read it, cheers nell

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