The DNA analysis confirmed the existence of Neanderthals 400 thousand years ago
Reconstruction of the appearance of the Neanderthals
Kennis & Kennis, Madrid Scientific Films
An international group of scientists conducted an analysis of DNA found in Spain remains older than 400 million years old and came to the conclusion that they belong to the Neanderthals. The results remoteapplication in the journal Nature.
We are talking about archaeological finds from the site of Sima de los Huesos (“pit of bones”) in Atapuerca mountains near Burgos. There were found the remains of hominids who lived, according to the Dating, about 430 thousand years ago, i.e. the middle Pleistocene. Morphologically these remains close to the Neanderthals, who lived in the late Pleistocene, but their mtDNA was closer to the late Pleistocene Denisovsky person close to the Neanderthal branch of hominids, whose remains found in southern Siberia.
Research team from Germany, Spain, great Britain and Canada held a collection of skeletal remains from Sima de los Huesos using “clean” tools and without pre-treatment from the surrounding rocks to avoid contamination of genetic material of modern people. Then, scientists have identified preserved small fragments of nuclear DNA (the genome core), and conducted their selection by substitution of cytosine by thymine. This substitution caused a gradual deamination of cytosine in a long time and is virtually absent in the modern samples.
To collect enough for analysis sections of the nuclear DNA hybridization, the researchers spent about 2.6 billion sekvenirovanie of genome fragments from existing libraries (obtained in the previous analysis of mitochondrial DNA in a sample of femoral bone), and from 600 to 900 million sekvenirovanie each of the four new samples received a “clean” way. In addition, new samples have identified mitochondrial DNA.
Analysis of nuclear DNA showed that the inhabitants of Sima de los Huesos genetically much closer to Neanderthals who lived 40-50 thousand years ago than to the Denisovsky person, that is, their genetic lines diverged earlier than 430 thousand years ago. The study also confirmed the similarity of the mitochondrial DNA in one of the samples with the ancient inhabitants of southern Siberia. Perhaps the Neanderthals “updated” their mitochondrial DNA later, as a result of gene flow from Africa.
“The results indicate that the genetic divergence of modern humans and Neanderthals to the denisovans happened quite early, from 550 to 750 thousand years ago,” said researcher Svante Paabo (Svante Pääbo) from Institute of evolutionary anthropology of max Planck in Leipzig.