Ghost DNA Hints at Africa’s Missing Ancient Humans
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Sorry, NY Times again.
Ghost DNA Hints at Africa’s Missing Ancient Humans https://nyti.ms/2uws9bt
This is an exciting story. It’s too early to know what population contributed this DNA, but for some time now we’ve known that the non subSaharan H sapiens populations who interbred with Denisovans and Neanderthals in Eurasia also mixed with a 4th population. (Of course the truth is that there were probably many small groups in Asia, pieces of whose genomes were integrated into the broad human genome.) There has been a lot of speculation that this may have been H erectus, but no erectus DNA has yet been uncovered. Getting our hands on some H erectus DNA would be enormously instructive in illuminating more about our lineage. Are we descended from the very old H erectus? Did we interbreed with them? if so did that occur in Africa, in Eurasia, or both? Etc. If we are related to H erectus genetically, then at least some of their genome should still exist in us today. Some ancient population’s DNA still exists in these modern African people. I’d sure like to know more about that group.
This also weaves into the story emerging in recent years that has replaced the older narrative that modern humans emerged in some small part of Africa some 200,000 years ago and ultimately left Africa, populating the globe. Instead, the emerging consensus supports that our kind emerged from the African continent as a whole. There were multiple Homo groups living in Africa in the Middle Stone Age, and we appear to be a kind of coming together of all of them. I made a video about this fascinating subject a year or so ago, if anyone is interested:
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