In DepthPaleoanthropology

Face of the mysterious Denisovans emerges

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Science  20 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6459, pp. 1232
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6459.1232

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Summary

Although scientists have a pretty good idea what Neanderthals looked like, the appearance of their close cousins, the Denisovans, has been something of a mystery. No conclusively Denisovan skulls have been found; the species is known only from a finger bone, a few teeth, and a single jawbone. Now, a recently developed method combining epigenetics and ancient DNA has given the Denisovans a face. The technique has enabled researchers to piece together a rough composite of a young girl who lived at Denisova Cave in Siberia in Russia 75,000 years ago. The results suggest a broad-faced species that would have looked distinct from both humans and Neanderthals, though other researchers caution that it's too early to generalize the findings across the whole species.

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