Smith has long argued that ancient humans interbred
with Neandertals at Vindija Cave and elsewhere.
David Reich, an evolutionary geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said Denisovans interbred
with an extinct population of archaic humans that lived in Asia, raising questions about this new species.
That suggests the signal came directly from ancient mixing with Neanderthals, and not recent interbreeding with other modern humans whose ancestors might have interbred
This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred
," says Labuda.
Based on this new data, modern humans probably interbred
with Neandertals between about 50,000 and 60,000 years ago, the team estimates, rather than over a longer period extending further back in the Stone Age (SN: 11/3/12, p.
The populations that interbred
were similar enough biologically so that they were able to produce fertile offspring, thus allowing genes to flow from one population to the other," he stated.
The patterns of Neandertal DNA found in the human genome suggest that ancient populations interbred
at least twice across Europe and Asia, Vernot and Akey say.
These long-lost human cousins must have then interbred
with modern humans sometime before the common ancestral lineage of the three hunter-gatherer groups separated about 30,000 to 70,000 years ago, Akey says.
Despite the differences, we know that the two species have interbred
opportunistically and probably on many occasions during the last 100,000 years," Shapiro said.
DNA extracted from this tiny fossil, unearthed in Siberia's Denisova Cave, unveiled a humanlike population that interbred
with people in East Asia at least 44,000 years ago.
When Parham compared the HLA genes of people from different regions of the world with the Neanderthal and Denisovan HLAs, he found evidence that non-African humans picked up new alleles from the hominins they interbred
At least 44,000 years ago, initial arrivals in Southeast Asia interbred
with a humanlike population known as Denisovans that apparently had spread southward from Siberia.