In DepthEvolution

Ancient DNA reveals tryst between extinct human species

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  24 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6404, pp. 737
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6404.737

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


A piece of bone unearthed in a Siberian cave is providing the most direct evidence yet that groups of ancient humans met and produced offspring. The 2-centimeter fragment contained enough ancient DNA to conclude that it belonged to a woman whose mother was Neanderthal and father Denisovan, the mysterious group of ancient humans discovered in the same cave in 2011. Based on other ancient genomes, researchers already had concluded that Denisovans, Neanderthals, and modern humans interbred in ice age Europe and Asia. The genes of both archaic human species are present in many people today. But the new finding is the first time anyone has identified an individual whose parents were from different groups.