Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scientists Get the Finger

Another humanoid species co-existed with early humans and Neanderthals: "A single finger bone found in this Siberian cave led to an amazing discovery. Early humans and Neanderthals co-existed with another humanoid species called Denisovans. And many present-day humans carry genes that prove our ancestors had children with Denisovans, too.

The new species is named after the cave where the 30,000 year-old finger bone was found. Researchers had been searching for Neanderthal bones in the area, and were surprised to discover what they initially thought was a fossil from an early human's little finger. To find out more, they shipped the bone off to the Max Planck Institute in Germany, where evolutionary biologist Svante Paabo had already sequenced several Neanderthal genomes. Paabo's tests gave a shocking result: The genome sequence they got from the bone showed that it was neither human nor Neanderthal."

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