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Nov 18, 2015 10:41 PM EST

DNA from tooth fossil shows link to human cousin


A fossilized tooth from Siberia has led to the discovery of a newly found species of ancient hominids called Denisovans, BABAW News reports.  

According to a report from National Geographic, the study suggests that Homo sapiens existed on the Earth with other primate species including Neanderthals and Denisovans.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The tooth, along with a finger bone, were discovered in the Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. The researchers employed nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequencing techniques to find out the link between Denisovans and early humans. It was found that the Denisovians pool contributed up to five percent of the genome in certain groups of modern humans, including the Melanesians of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

The archaeologists also discovered another wisdom tooth in the Denisov cave, which led to the conclusion that the Denisovans likely had large mandibles. The wisdom tooth had relatively fewer genetic mutations than the other two samples, which led the researchers to believe that it must have been an older individual.

The DNA analysis allowed the researchers to determine where on the human family tree Denisovans diverged from a common ancestor.

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