Evidence for Homo erectus genes in Papuans (and Chinese)?

Steve Sailer says he's "been alerted that there should be science news soon of a caliber comparable to the recent human-neanderthal inter-mating story." At Gene Expression, Greg Cochran calls attention to a comparison in the supplementary material of the Neanderthal genome paper showing "San closer to Han+French than to" Papuans. The San are also shown to be closer to the French than to the Chinese (and the Papuan closer to Han than French), though to a lesser degree. In addition, the San are shown to be closer to Han+French than to Yorubans, perhaps reflecting archaic admixture among West Africans; on the other hand, Yorubans are closer to non-Africans than to San.

Incidentally, this last point is in keeping with Kalinowski's assertion based on autosomal STR data. But as before I'm inclined to attribute any increased similarity between Negroids (as opposed to Bushmen) and non-Africans to back-migration from Eurasia to Africa, given that Y chromosomes likely of ultimate Eurasian origin (namely, E, and to a much lesser extent R1b, lineages) predominate among Negroids, while among Bushmen older clades predominate.

Update: A commenter passes on a link to a Google translation of a Spanish newspaper article reporting that Paabo and friends have sequenced the genome of the Denisova hominin, evidently a Homo erectus, and found evidence that genes related to the specimen persist in Melanesians. Update 2: Links are now dead (I assume the story is still supposed to be under embargo); see below for Google translation. Update 3: Much more information on this story is now available elsewhere, of course.

Describe the genome of a new hominid

An international study, led by the Max Planck Institute in Germany and involving the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) has described the genome of a new hominid, Denisova, who shared a common origin with the Neanderthals.

December 22, 1910 - Barcelona - Ep

The study "Genetic history of an archaic group homin from Denisova Cave in Siberia ', to be published in the journal' Nature ', part of the mitochondrial DNA analysis of a finger bone 30,000 years ago found in a cave in Denisova, in Southern Siberia in Russia, which contained a rare genetic sequence suggesting that it was a form of ancient hominid not yet described.

The latest analysis of the nuclear genome of the extinct hominid and morphology of a tooth from the same specimen suggests a different story. The researcher of the Institute of Evolutionary Bilogía Marquet-Bone Toms UPF studied regions of the genome structural variants that are linked to some human diseases indicate that the genome of Denisovanes is more archaic than that of other hominids, as it shares some features with the chimpanzee genome.

On this basis, the Denisovanes seem to have been a group of hominids who shared a common origin with the ancient Neanderthals, but later had a different evolution. Unlike the Neanderthals, the Denisovanes not contribute to all Eurasian genes today.

However, appear to be closely related to modern populations in Melanesia, a region of Oceania, which suggests that there was interbreeding with the antepsados of the Melanesians. In fact, the current Melanesians are between 4% and 6% of the genetic material Denisovanes extinguished. The discovery of Denisovanes south of Siberia suggests that this group occupied much of Asia during the late Pleistocene - about 50,000 years ago -.

After DNA analysis, researchers have deduced that the Denisova finger bone belonged to a girl between 6 and 7, who belonged to a group of common genetic origin with Neanderthals, while showing a different population history to this group.

The analysis of a tooth of same specimen, shows a different morphology of Neanderthals and modern humans are more like the old forms of Homo erectus and Homo habilis. Specifically, Denisova genome suggests a complex picture of genetic interactions between the ancestors of humans and other groups of hominids that lived at that time.


Anonymous said...


Via Razib Khan's GNXP.

n/a said...

Very interesting. Thanks.

n/a said...

Another article:

Spanish to English translation
A team from the Max Planck discovered a hominid with no ties to the modern man
December 22, 2010 • 10:11 a.m.

(Embargoed until 18.00 GMT) Juan Palop Berlin, Dec. 22 (AP) - A computer scientist Max Planck Institute have discovered a hominid that lived at least 30,000 years in Siberia (Russia) belongs to a new undescribed species to date, which bears no relation to either Neanderthal or modern man.

This conclusion, according to Efe said the team leader, Svante Pääbo, was reached to achieve "complete nuclear genome sequencing" of a hand bone found by Russian archaeologists in the Denisova cave, in southern Siberia, in 2008 .

Then we compared this genome with those extracted from Neanderthal and modern human ancestors, to note with some surprise that it was "clearly different."

Thus, the findings of this research center in Leipzig (East Germany) have concluded that the bone found a female member of a group of hominids that "shares an ancestor with Neanderthals, but it has a" distinct subsequent history. "

"This is an important finding. Until now we knew three major types of hominids: Neanderthals, the Cro-Magnon that led to modern man and the 'hobbit' of the island of Flores. This discovery tells us that there were at least another" Pääbo said the Swede.

One of the particularities of this hominid just described, called "denisovano" the cave where he was found, is to be extinguished "without contributing genetically Eurasian any today," unlike the also extinct Neanderthals.

"The genome 'denisovano' suggests a complex picture of the genetic interactions between our ancestors and ancient hominid groups," said science team leader and member of the Max Planck Institute, Sweden's Svante Pääbo.

However, "denisovanos" share "a large number of genetic variants" with the current populations of Papua New Guinea, suggesting that there was genetic exchange between this new group of hominids and the ancestors of the Melanesians, according to scientists .

"It seems the 'denisovanos' widely dispersed in the past," argued the head of the scientific team, referring to about 7,000 kilometers from the Russian region of Siberia on the island of New Guinea, Oceania.

For his part, David Reich, a professor at Harvard Medical School and member of the team, said in this connection that "the fact that the 'denisovanos' were discovered in southern Siberia but contribute genetically modern populations (the Island) New Guinea indicates that the 'denisovanos' could spread through Asia in the later Pleistocene. "

The Max Planck Institute in a statement also added that in the same cave where he found the bone in which the basis of this discovery was found a tooth that confirms the genetic peculiarity of the "denisovanos."

This tooth has "a different morphology from those of Neanderthals and modern humans" that "recalls much earlier hominid forms," according to German research center.

"The tooth is simply amazing. It allows us to connect the morphological and genetic information," said the scientist Bence Viola, Max Planck Institute.

"This Wheel 'denisovano' is very different from that of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon," he added Pääbo.

That same year, the researchers found that the mitochondrial DNA of bone found in the cave of Siberia showed "unusual sequencing", which encouraged the hypothesis that belonged to "a form of ancient hominid undescribed" yet.

In this study, which appears in tomorrow's edition of the popular science magazine Nature, scientists have also collaborated U.S., China, Canada, Russia, UK and Spain. EFE jpm / ih (photo)


Anonymous said...

(Embargoed until 18.00 GMT)

The embargo should be over in a few minutes.

VG said...

Does it actually say Homo Erectus? Isn't that a little misleading? Read John Hawks' FAQ

n/a said...


That was written before the press embargo was over and the paper was actually published. No it's not "proven" that Denisovans are Homo erectus, but that's still the most reasonable assumption for now as far as I'm concerned. I don't think Hawks disagrees:

"1. Who were these ancient people? Were they "Homo erectus"?

This would be my null hypothesis -- that we are looking at one site representing a widespread population across the eastern extent of Eurasia, including Sundaland, during the Middle Pleistocene."


“The Neanderthal and Denisova population history may be roughly twice the length suggested in [the Nature] paper,” said University of Wisconsin — Madison anthropologist John Hawks, who was not involved with this study. “The ancestors [of the Denisovans] might be the original “Homo erectus” dispersal from Africa.”


Hail said...

Any population within the Australoid paragroup (as in the Melanesian people) is best defined as "late erectus".

"Erectus Walks Amongst Us" proved this years ago.

A better work on human-origins than "Erectus" I can hardly imagine. Rehosted online for free. [Read Sections III and IV; some of the earlier sections are too dryly didactic]. It demolishes Out-of-Africa (if anyone still believes that). And whereas I couldn't make head or tail out of the John-Hawks "FAQ" linked-to, "Erectus" is written for the layman.

Anonymous said...

"Erectus Walks Amongst Us" proved this years ago.

A lot of good consolidated info. A good resource to have on hand when you need to serve up some tasty copy-pasta to the libs and proles.