An incredible discovery was made by the scientists who managed to find the traces of previously unknown, long-extinct human species in the DNA of modern Melanesians. They inhabit the area in the South Pacific Ocean to the northeast of Australia and contain such countries as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.
The discovered human species were expected to belong to Neanderthals and Denisovians, though the further research showed unexpected results.
“We’re missing a population, or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” said Ryan Bohlender, a statistical geneticist from the University of Texas.
The main purpose of the research was actually to find out how much ancient DNA modern humans still carry. As between 100, 000 and 60, 000 years ago there was a time when our ancestors exchanged, as one group left Africa and met another living in Eurasia. As a result scientists discovered that there might be another group of people other than Neanderthals and Denisovans, which hasn’t been identified yet.
Modern humans still carry some of the ancient DNA, for example Europeans and Asians have around 1.5 to 4% Neanderthal DNA, which could be a reason of various health issues. When it comes to the DNA of Melanesians, it turned out that it has around 1.11 % of Denisovian DNA, which is higher compared to other groups. This led scientists to the conclusion that there might have been some third group of people bred along with Melanesians. Even the recent Danish researches came to the same results, that there was some non-Denisovian DNA present in the Australian aboriginals and natives of Papua New Guineans.
The only challenge scientists have to face is the lack of samples of Denisovian DNA and they might just not know all the variations of these people. Until now there has been only one Denisovian finger bone and teeth found. The analysis by Bohlender is currently awaiting peer review. Further research into the ancient hominids is necessary to confirm their find.
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