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Extinct human relatives interbred with mystery species

By Philaso G. Kaping | Last Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 00:54

Zee Media Bureau\Philaso G Kaping

London: An extinct human relative interbred with a mystery human species, according to a new study.

A research team, led by David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston, studied the genome sequences from Denisovans and Neanderthals and found that ancient hominins interbred with each other more frequently than previously thought. Denisovans and Neanderthals were cousins whose ancestors split apart some 400,000 years ago.

The finding was presented at a meeting of the Royal Society in London.

While taking a closer look at the Denisovan DNA, Reich also found that 1 percent of the Denisovan genome looked much older than the rest, suggesting that they interbred with an unidentified species, the Nature reported.

"Denisovans harbor ancestry from an unknown archaic population, unrelated to Neanderthals,” Reich told the meeting.

According to previous studies, many modern humans outside of Africa carry traces of Neanderthal DNA in their genes and people from Oceania inherited about 4% of Denisovans DNA.

First Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 17:27

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