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DNA Analysis Suggests Humans Interbred With Denisovans

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the star-trek-romance dept.

Biotech 157

ananyo writes "Tens of thousands of years ago modern humans crossed paths with the group of hominins known as the Neandertals. Researchers now think they also met another, less-known group called the Denisovans. The only trace that we have found, however, is a single finger bone and two teeth, but those fragments have been enough to cradle wisps of Denisovan DNA across thousands of years inside a Siberian cave. Now a team of scientists has been able to reconstruct their entire genome from these meager fragments. The analysis supports the idea that Neandertals and Denisovans were more closely related to one another than either was to modern humans and also suggests new ways that early humans may have spread across the globe." wombatmobile linked to an article that focuses on the new techniques used to sequence the DNA of the bone fragments in question.

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157 comments

No kidding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194849)

I'd like to cross my DNA with Irina Denisova too!

Denisovans Extinct? (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41194881)

I beg to differ. The Denisovan's were our next-door neighbors, when I was in grade-school.

Re:Denisovans Extinct? (4, Funny)

okcdan (954396) | about a year and a half ago | (#41194931)

Kind of dating yourself there Jeremiah. I do applaud older folks who embrace technology like the interwebs though, congrats!

Re:Denisovans Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194953)

Did they have you over for dinner?

Some of their DNA lives on. The DNA reveals some surprising dietary history.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/04/0410_030410_cannibal.html [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:Denisovans Extinct? (1, Offtopic)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195439)

The article says the genes were found in MODERN humans, not Denisovans.

I knew a guy who got Creutzfeld-Yakov, presumably from eating deer meat. At least, I think it was deer meat. He hunted a lot in Colorado which at the time had an outbreak of CWD. But then again he was a priest so he ate the Body of Christ a lot too. But there's little evidience that Catholics are particularly prone to CYD so I think Jesus was clean.

Based on that anecdotal evidence, I think it likely that the prion-resistance gene likely was selected for because early humans ate deer, cattle, sheep and other animals that are prone to prion diseases. They certainly eat those things a lot more often than they eat each other.

Re:Denisovans Extinct? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195527)

I may know some, but frankly, I think some of the way scientist view this is nonsense. Some races died out for good reason. Survival of the fittest? Well, there's evidence all around us to suggest otherwise. My great grandfather lived to be 92, and he ate a stick of butter everyday, dipped snuff, and drank whiskey until he was about eighty. I once asked him how he lived so long, and as he drank the juice from the peas we were eating, he said, "pot liquor"

Re:Denisovans Extinct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41196083)

They may have once been your neighbours, but they took the obvious exit. (The one that wasn't north or south).

Considering... (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#41194871)

Considering what I've seen on the net, it doesn't surprise me in the least that H.Sapiens has interbred with anything and everything. The only surprising element would be whether or not there were offspring.

Re:Considering... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194925)

Lol, I first misread the headline as "interbred with dinosaurs". Well, the creationists at least might think that was possible.

Re:Considering... (0)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195149)

Lol, I first misread the headline as "interbred with dinosaurs". Well, the creationists at least might think that was possible.

I would almost go to a creationism museum to see the graphics for that. Can you imagine this [dailymail.co.uk] shooped with a woman's body on the bottom?

Re:Considering... (1, Offtopic)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195347)

Do you think the one on the bottom is being legitimately raped or does it have ways of shutting the whole thing down?

Re:Considering... (0)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195371)

Do you think the one on the bottom is being legitimately raped or does it have ways of shutting the whole thing down?

Well, if I was the sort of person that would go to a creationist museum to see these graphics then yes, I would believe her body would shut it down if it was a legitimate rape. However, take a look at the smile on that bottom Tyranny's face? That's no "legitimate" rape!

Re:Considering... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194983)

I think it is clear that we bred Neanderthals out of existence. Now I wonder if we or the Neanderthals bred with Denisovans. It just goes to show you that evolution really does kill us all in the end. Evolution really is a way of making certain that beings are fit for life but it is also a way of making certain that some other bio unit will eventually win the ground we share. God, I just hope they are not republicans.

Re:Considering... (4, Interesting)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195103)

This probably won't be popular because it's not especially PC, but it's starting to actually appear that the 3 classical types of human as defined by 19th century Racial Science [wikipedia.org] are becoming more scientifically delineated. Or at least things are breaking down broadly in similar ways. After-all, at some point there was a gross separation between Asians, Africans, Europeans, and the rest (that are usually a mix of 1+ of the others).
One of the authors of this study or the others I read was talking about how he believed for a long time that Neandarthals are a sub-species of homo sapiens, while from this un-mixed homo sapiens are more closely related to the original and modern-day Africans, and then this Denisovans are related to more eastern groups including Pacific Islanders, Aboriginal Australian, and (maybe) what was classically related to Mongoloids?
Still homo sapiens from a breeding standpoint but noticeably distinct even if it's 0.1-0.5% of the DNA. Doesn't mean anyone is better than others but we're phenotypically different if only in body morphology.

Re:Considering... (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195169)

Not only is it not PC, it's wrong.

I mean, wow, right out of 100 years ago.
It's dead, Jim.

Re:Considering... (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195321)

If you read between the lines in these articles closely you'll see what I'm talking about. They're certainly skirting the subject like you for PC reasons but take a look for yourself. At some point, there were forks or bifurcations in the races and to ignore that is to promote ignorance. I am not suggesting a difference in mental/physical capacities between races or anything that was traditionally associated with this Racial Science. But I don't believe the Tower of Babel was the thing that created the different races of the world. Do you?!

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195491)

You can always ignore what geekoid has to say. He's an opinionated idiot who always ignores facts when it suits him.

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195579)

I am not suggesting a difference in mental/physical capacities between races or anything that was traditionally associated with this Racial Science.

Sure. Because we know evolution stopped from the neck up.

Re:Considering... (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195581)

First of all you have to provide a scientific definition of "race". What the Victorians had was anything but a scientific definition. They had no genetic data, no real knowledge of the migration patterns out of Africa. Hell, most of the Victorian racial theorists assumed that humans arose in Eurasia, and that Africa was some sort of dead-beat dead-end where the lower races ended up.

So, get to it. Give us a genetically meaningful definition of "race". I think you will find what most geneticists who have studied the issue have found, that if there are races; or more preferably sub-types of H. sapiens sapiens, they really do not line up very well at all with the morphological divisions that the Europeans set up. We have a much clearer picture now of how things went down when modern humans pushed out of sub-Saharan Africa. Still holes, but enough to tell us that simplistic notions like "negroid", "caucasian" and "mongoloid" do not give anything close to a reasonable picture of genetic patterns.

Re:Considering... (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195699)

I think you're agreeing with my premise. These data are arriving at a scientific delineation of how the Victorian (and we still consider) races formed. That they broadly align with the Victorian view of morphological differences is interesting in my opinion even if the Victorians weighted more the differences rather than the similarities. In all, this is what I find interesting from a temporal perspective because 100-30,000 years ago is not that much beyond recorded history in the global perspective...

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41197069)

I think you're agreeing with my premise.

No he isn't agreeing with your premise. He's saying that 'race' doesn't exist. Geneticists agree with him. This isn't PC, it's science.

Re:Considering... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195701)

Provide us with a scientific definition of "language". Or else we'll have to give up on simplistic notions like English, German and French as well.

Re:Considering... (2)

neonsignal (890658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196953)

Language boundaries are defined by mutual intelligibility of the communication system. This can be simplistic, but it provides a good first approximation that is testable. There are border cases (such as language chains), but on the whole it is a useful definition.

In comparison, dialect contours are defined in terms of specific language features. What speakers call a "dialect" is an identification, and while this may correspond roughly to collections of language features, it is really a sociolinguistic definition of language variety.

The notion of race is analogous to these sociolinguistic definitions, not to language; it is not defined by external factors, but by social ideas. There may be superficial features that are assumed to be associated with particular "races" (much as superficial language features are assumed to be associated with particular dialects), but these features are a poor definition of "race", because they are not clustered, and cross the boundaries of what people perceive as "race". In other words, "race" is a social construct.

It is the notion of species that is analogous to language. Species boundaries are defined by fertile offspring. Again, there are border cases, but it is testable.

Re:Considering... (5, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196569)

First of all you have to provide a scientific definition of "race".

There are similar problems trying to define species, genus etc. DNA and other new data shows that the tree of life is more complex than we realised.
But a lack of a single simple definiton does not mean that species or race are invalid or unuseful categories.

Re:Considering... (2)

HiThere (15173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196795)

Species is fairly simple:
Two animal varieties are of the same species if, given a chance, they interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

Now this causes problems when you adopt a simple model, and then encounter ring species, like herring gulls. But it works fine for local populations. Just don't expect a global definition and it's ok.

Genus is a totally artificial construct created by people to make their theories simpler to describe. It doesn't have any natural validity, any more than green or blue does. Where do you draw the line, and what do you call turquoise? It may be an artificial grouping, but it's a useful one. You build a Genus out of species that can be traced back to a common ancestral species. That defines the grouping mechanism. And within the constraints of that grouping mechanism, you draw the genus boundaries wherever it suits you.

And yes indeed, the tree of life is much more complex. Viruses, e.g., can transfer genes between kingdoms, not just species. There are animals that have acquired plant genes. But this never happens to such an extent as to blur even species boundaries, much less genus boundaries.

Race, however, does not seem to be a useful category, unless you are primarily interested in hair styles or melanin. The other, less observable characteristics (e.g. blood type) do not appear to follow the same boundaries. I was, I'll admit, afraid to marry a black woman in my younger days, because I was afraid she would carry sickle cell anemia. That does seem to be a genuine association (though far from certain). But many Semites also carry that disease. Esp. the ones from North Africa. Because it's a useful survival trait in areas where malaria is endemic. So it's following an environmental boundary rather than a "racial" one.

Re:Considering... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196809)

Uh, oh... now we have to define "useful" :)

If you are trying to use "race" to predict how medication might affect a person, you will probably be disappointed. Sure, you can ask people to self-identify and see patterns emerge from the "black" and "white" and "Asian or Pacific Islander" categories... but at the end of the day, as a physician, when a black guy walks into your office you can't give him any kind of certainty as to what his specific reaction might be. So race is useless in this context.

If you are trying to use "race" to categorize people in the same way that you would categorize birds by plumage or ants by mandible size, then yeah, it's pretty useful for that.

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41196867)

If you are trying to use "race" to categorize people in the same way that you would categorize birds by plumage or ants by mandible size, then yeah, it's pretty useful for that.

It also comes in pretty handy if you want to avoid getting mugged, raped or murdered, too.

Re:Considering... (2, Insightful)

chichilalescu (1647065) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195621)

you do realize that there are communities in Africa where you can take two random people, check how much their DNA differs, and you will find that that difference is "bigger" than the differences between most "Europeans" and "Asians", right?
the color of people's skin is related to the amount of sun their ancestors had to deal with. I'm not sure how long back in time, but probably a lot. the length of people's limbs and the thickness of their body has to do with the amount of heat their ancestors had to dissipate. that's about it.

what this means in practice is that if you take blueeyed whiteskinned northern people, and you put them on a tropical island, and you check again in N generations (I'm not sure how large N is, but it shouldn't be very large), then you will find black eyed people with darker skin, only because it's easier to live there with these properties. in fact, I don't think it would be very easy to convince blue eyed whiteskinned northern people to go live on a tropical island...

back to the issue of DNA differences: unless you have training in the area, don't try to draw conclusions, because these are complicated issues. for instance I read somewhere that when all you have to work with are bones, then you can say that two specimens are different species; but when you look at the DNA, you might say that they are indeed the same species. for instance pygmies are homo sapiens.

my advice to you is to either get a degree in the field, or stop believing what people said 100 years ago, when it was still acceptable to be a racist in many circles (thus the biased conclusions you've been reading).

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195747)

Hmm. An anthropologist can look at a thigh bone and identify the race of the person it came from. A DNA sample can also be used to identify the race of a person. I think we're dealing with a little more than skin color here.

Re:Considering... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196821)

A DNA sample can also be used to identify the race of a person.

You sure about that? I have some kids with African, European, and American ancestry and I'd love you to tell me what their "race" is, with or without a DNA sample.

Re:Considering... (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195767)

I generally agree with everything you said with one caveat, but as an aside I would be interested in your citations on environment effects on population genotypes if you have them.

My caveat would be that I also know that basically anyone >2 cousins apart (I believe) have about the same DNA matching as a % of total DNA. However, the total % is not a very fair comparison between two closely related populations. The X% difference between your two African populations is probably substantially different between one of those African communities and a comparably sized European population as defined by X% per volume. The cross-correlation is the key.

However, out of my ignorance I would nominally agree that the location relative to the equator is a big factor in skin pigment levels in peoples and that's frankly irrelevant to me. Skin pigment doesn't define the races in my opinion.

Re:Considering... (0)

HiThere (15173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196873)

The problem is that there *IS* no scientific definition of race, and there probably can't be. Species is a natural group (with fuzzy boundaries, of course). Race is not only artificial, about it's only use is political. And because it doesn't have a scientific definition, and people WANT to have definitions for words that they believe model the world, people tend to believe the political definitions. This DOES have social consequences, but the consequences aren't inherent in any racial differences. (Though being raised in a stressful environment does tend to cause epigenetic changes that can be inherited. These can probably be ameliorated, but we don't know how just yet. Or if you can manage to raise the descendants in a non-stressful environment after a few generations the epigenetic markers will decay and not be renewed. How to manage that with people rather than lab rats and mice isn't clear.)

Re:Considering... (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195797)

His post did make me wonder. Since Neanderthals are believed to have inhabited Europe and West Asia it seems Europeans and people in West Asia would be likely to have more neanderthal DNA than groups from Africa or East Asia. I mean from a genetic lineage it's interesting to think about how different groups of homo sapiens split apart and came back together from time to time.

I could see a few hundred millennial from now our descendants digging up bones on different continents classifying them into different groups. Then realizing, hey these guys interbred. It's humorous to imagine that they might pick one group to call homo sapiens (or whatever our descendants decide to call themselves) and the others they'll call sub-species. In that respect we may unknowingly be very racists in calling Neanderthals and Denisovans sub-species.

Re:Considering... (2)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195913)

Exactly, and why in one of my posts the big Max Planck guy (Svante Pääbo in this article) that has been doing a lot of this DNA analysis thinks they are all sub-species of homo sapiens. In one article I read, he basically said he doesn't want to get into the debate about what a species is because it gets complicated. They interbred though he thinks from what I've read and he did one of the big Neanderthal studies and this Denisovans one and compared them to modern humans so I think he has a better idea than most people.

Re:Considering... (1)

HiThere (15173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196931)

A worthy point, but an invalid one.

These groups *were* largely reproductively isolated. This doesn't require that they couldn't interbreed. Not when the world is large, and travel is slow, dangerous, and uncomfortable. (Did you know that travel and travail were the same word with the combined meaning until around the time of the railroad.) So the groups didn't have much chance to interbreed. Populations were SMALL, especially in the north, and small isolated populations experience lots of genetic drift. If we were a smaller animal, and not as given to roaming, there would probably have been several separate species of homo by this time. But we kept interchanging genes at sufficient speed to keep a single species. There isn't really sufficient evidence to claim that Homo Neanderthalis is a separate species from Homo Sapiens. There's provocative indications in both directions. And perhaps the Denisovians combined with the Neanderthals and the Cro-Magnons were a ring species. (Check out Herring gulls.) I.e, it could be that Cro-Magnon essentially couldn't interbred with Neanderthals, but the could both interbreed with Denisovians. And there are likely to be several other intermediate groups out there that just haven't yet been discovered. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. First you need to ask "On what grounds would you expect to have the evidence? And how reasonable is that expectation?"

Re:Considering... (0)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195287)

Sorry to respond to myself, but I was more than a little imprecise in what I was referring to with 3 races. According to that Wikipedia article (the truthiest truth on the Internet), I was referring to what UNESCO "gives the examples of the Caucasian, Negroid and Mongoloid race". I suppose I was under the mistaken impression that this was already conventionally understood despite the fact that I acknowledged above, and UNESCO does as well, that they/we "maintain that there are no 'pure races' and that biological variability was as great within any race as between races. [Their statement] argued that there is no scientific basis for believing that there are any innate differences in intellectual, psychological or emotional potential among races." All this may be well and true, but again, there are phenotypic differences in morphology and, for me, I think this would be very satisfying to shove in creationists face over their reasoning for the Biblical Tower of Babel beyond the other arguments.

More precision in how people migrated and divided are wonderful pieces of science in my opinion, and it's amazing to me to see how evolution and diversification occurred on such a recent time-scale (less than 100,000 or even less than 30,000 years).

Wow!

Re:Considering... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195537)

Genetically there are something like 5 or 6 six races. Five races of sub-Saharan Africans, and then a sixth race everyone else. We know enough about the genetic makeup of various populations to put to rest pretty much all of Victorian racial theory.

The problem here is concentrating on what usually amount to relatively insignificant morphological features of modern H. sapiens. Many features like skin color, shape of the eyes, slight deviations in skull shape, and so on are really very recent changes in modern humans. The fact remains that sub-Saharan Africa holds the highest degree of genetic diversity, and that almost all other populations throughout the rest of the world are far less genetically diverse, and it is this fact that has rendered the morphology obsessions of the Victorians. Not that different non-African populations don't have their unique morphological and heritable differences, but they really are very minor.

If Neandertals and Denisovans did interbreed with humans (and there always seems to be a back-and-forth on this), they didn't leave much in the way of a genetic heritage in modern humans.

Re:Considering... (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195801)

Thanks, so far, you have had the most intriguing insight into this but from what I've read there are still big movers/shakers in the field that think Neandartals/Denisovans did interbreed and also have a significant impact on the the downstream homo sapiens. Do you have any good review papers you can point me to that would summarize the state of the science?

Re:Considering... (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196629)

I seem to remember that 4% of european/whitey DNA can be traced to Neanderthal?

Re:Considering... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196849)

I seem to remember that 4% of european/whitey DNA can be traced to Neanderthal?

Yes, and Asian and Aboriginal Australian, according to the linked Wikipedia article.

Re:Considering... (2)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195793)

The world of human genetics, according to Svante Pääbo*:
A first wave of humans left Africa on the order of half a million years ago. These lead to the Neandertals and probably the Denisovans. (But perhaps the Denisovans were a separate migration.)
On the order of 100,000 years ago, modern humans left Africa. On the way, they did a little interbreeding with Neandertals, so that all modern non-Africans are about 4% Neandertal by descent.
A subpopulation of these interbred with the Denisovans, and this subpopulation ended up in Melanesia, but somehow left no genetic trace between there and Siberia where the Denisovan finger was found.

I see very little similarity between this and the 19th century 'racial science'. If you insist on dividing people up into categories, this research has three categories, as do *some* of the 19th century schemes, and one of those categories is African. That really is as far as the resemblance goes.

* Errors are mine, not Prof Pääbo's. Dates are from other sources and from my memory.

Re:Considering... (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196065)

Fair enough, but I think based on this, there is some subdivision that is being recognized in the scientific chronology that at least "remotely" corresponds to modern reality.

To follow the PC approach of being blind that there ARE differences (if only morphological) between groups of humans just promotes ignorance. I want to understand how these migration patterns developed. I get the impression these scientists are under a lot of pressure to make sure that everyone was well-mixed 60-100,000 years ago and the differences we see now in everyday life are just the corner cases of this wildly variable population.

However, the striking refutation of this supposition is that you can't dispute that most Africans that live near Africans look like Africans, Asians that live near Asians look like Asians, and Caucasians living near Caucasians look like Caucasians, and all the permutations you can think of in between back in Victorian times.

There's something there that's different, and I refuse to believe the Tower of Babel was the thing that divided homo sapiens into 3+ races! It's still amazing to me how humans today look drastically different than ancestors from just 30,000 years ago. As I've said in a previous post. That's BARELY, pre-historic. Imagine what we'll look like in 3000 AD. My suspicion -- we'll look like the Greys. :)

Re:Considering... (5, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196691)

That's not actually unlikely. And the same reasoning would show why Neanderthal mitochondria don't show up in modern humans.

In particular, it appears (or has appeared to a few anthropoligists several years ago) that Neanderthal women had a smaller birth canal that Cro-Magnon women, so if a normal Cro-Magnon infant were to attempt to be born to a Neanderthal woman, there would likely be a brith problem fatal to both the mother and the child. Going the other way around, however, should work. Neanderthal heads were slimmer than Cro-Magnon heads. And since mitochondria are only inherited along the maternal line, that would explain the absence of Neanderthal mitochondria in modern humans.

This may not be quite what you meant, but it's the way I think it happened.

rule 34 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195157)

So, it looks like there's a scientific basis for rule 34.

Re:Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195159)

Since some of their DNA appears in modern humans there must have been fertile offspring.

Re:Considering... (1)

an unsound mind (1419599) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195175)

Different human groups always have and always will interbreed to leave just the "human" race.

The species keeps evolving. It'll probably change in ways drastic enough that we wouldn't even recognize it as "human" anymore. Well, except for that interbreeding thing.

Re:Considering... (0)

pitchpipe (708843) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196351)

Considering what I've seen on the net, it doesn't surprise me in the least that H.Sapiens has interbred with anything and everything

Oh come on now, Apple fans aren't that bad.

whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194875)

Totally thought that said Denobulans!

Clone possibility? (1)

4wdloop (1031398) | about a year and a half ago | (#41194897)

>> Now a team of scientists has been able to reconstruct their entire genome from these meager fragments.

So, can they be re-created?

Re:Clone possibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195033)

In due time, soon we'll create our own alien species after being impatient for waiting. The alien species will have a little mouth inside the big mouth

Re:Clone possibility? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195119)

>> Now a team of scientists has been able to reconstruct their entire genome from these meager fragments.

So, can they be re-created?

Another Jurassic Park sequel is even more likely.

Re:Clone possibility? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195131)

IIRC, the team managed to get 91% of the genome down 'pretty accurately'. That is a technological tour-de-force [sciencemag.org] in and of itself but likely not enough to 'clone' somebody. Unless, perhaps, you added additional 'spacer' DNA - like from a frog.

"I'm French, how do you think I got this outrageous accent?"
"What are you doing in England then?"
"Mind your own business."

Na, would never work.

Re:Clone possibility? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195455)

Would this count as "experimenting on humans" without their consent if Denisovans were sort of a different species? Or for that matter, is the thing you're experimenting on a human before you're done building it from scratch?

The empty chair is going to New Orleans now! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194927)

Way to lead from behind!

Bwaaa haa haa haa!

Must have Been Liberals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194933)

They'll fuck anything.

Re:Must have Been Liberals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195015)

They'll fuck anything.

And then expect you to pay for their birth control.

Because screwing around on the taxpayer's dime is a HUMAN RIGHT damnit!

Did Baracky need help to build that EMPTY CHAIR?!?!?! He didn't build that, did he?!?!

BWAAA HAAHAAA

And you gotta love how Hillary has contrived to literally be on the other side of the planet while Fauxcahontas is addressing the Dimocrat Convention.

Re:Must have Been Liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195065)

Dont forget the republicans. There is nothing they cannot fuck either.

Re:Must have Been Liberals (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196635)

Fuck over, you mean?

Re:Must have Been Liberals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41197135)

I heard /. Was purchased by the Daily KOS. Must be true because more and more of you freaks show up everyday.

old news is old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194941)

Old news I watched a national geographic special about this probably about 7 months ago... http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/101222-new-human-species-dna-nature-science-evolution-fossil-finger/ oh look a story from 2010...

Listen... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41194959)

Humans have tried to interbreed with just about every species imaginable. Sheep, for instance. And, when drunk, even animals which sometimes predate upon humans. So I have no doubt that modern humans have interbred with Denisovan babes. We are some seriously horny, depraved bastards.

Re:Listen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195599)

Humans have tried to interbreed with just about every species imaginable.

Sure. Just look at Heidi Klum!

And this is news how, exactly? (1)

Nate the greatest (2261802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195105)

I guess I'm the only one who saw Star Trek. Kirk got it on with a lot of alien babes.

Re:And this is news how, exactly? (2)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195589)

It seems to me that Kirk's babes were all as human as he was. Like a lot of TV shows and movies from the 50s and 60s, TOS often assumed that other planets would be inhabited by people. TOS sometimes portrayed aliens as having weird physical features (as TNG and its sequels always did), but mostly the "aliens" looked like they came from Southern California — as indeed they did.

I recently re-watched the original Planet of the Apes. When I first saw it 40 years ago, the teenage me was not bothered by the scientific silliness. But this time, I thought it was dumb that Taylor find a world inhabited by ordinary-looking mute humans and English-speaking apes, but it never occurs to him until the final scene that he's on Earth.

Re:And this is news how, exactly? (3, Insightful)

WastedMeat (1103369) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195733)

It makes much more sense, and is perfectly compatible with the rest of the plot, if you replace his period of muteness with a delay to learn the language. I have a suspicion this is what was originally intended but they did not want subtitles on the whole film.

Re:And this is news how, exactly? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196307)

It doesn't seem like scientific silliness to me. They directly addressed the issue. "It's a mad house!!! It's a mad house!!!" The whole situation made no sense to Taylor. The thought that Earth would be over thrown by apes and plunged into a primitive society where humans were little more than wild animals to be hunted was less likely in his mind than another planet having a parallel evolution where the apes come out on top. The silliness you are bothered by likely comes more from the fact that you already know it is Earth than from the absurdity of the situation.

Re:And this is news how, exactly? (1)

swalve (1980968) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196651)

Star Trek explains away the humanness of all the aliens by introducing a proto race that seeded the galaxy with its DNA. We are all similar because we are all distantly related.

Re:And this is news how, exactly? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196929)

The proto race was invented much later, in TNG. It was one of many silly attempts to explain small stuff, like that plague that made Klingons look like humans. The writers for the TOS were less careful about science, and didn't see any contradictions in having aliens look human.

Besides, why did most of the aliens Kirk met look like plain humans, while the aliens Picard met all look like people wearing latex masks?

Humans Interbred With Dinosaurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195125)

... that would be real news! :-)

Wrong. God created man. Duh! (-1, Troll)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195161)

Everyone knows God created man. stop using science to make up insane shit. Do you really think the sun is made of fire? C'mon. Thats silly, theres no oyxgen in space. Duh how does that work even?

Breaking News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195215)

This just in: Humans are randy.

Go to any college bar on Friday night (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195379)

And you'll see plenty of humans breeding with Neandertals.

Re:Go to any college bar on Friday night (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195813)

Forever alone neckbeard detected...

Alyson Hannigan (3, Funny)

tdelaney (458893) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195425)

Alyson Hannigan is modern-day proof of homo sapiens interbreeding with Denisovans.

Re:Alyson Hannigan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195903)

And a lucky Denisof he is!

A total of five (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195461)

It's funny how only two species of recent hominids are commonly known when there were actually five within the last 35,000 years. Most of those died out in the last 15,000 years. the five species are Homo Sapiens, Neanderthals, Denisovans, A group known as the Red Deer people, and Homo floresiensis (hobbits). There is debate about the red deer people since no DNA has been found. Their features are very primitive so they are likely a unique group. All survived until near the end of the last ice age with the exception of Neanderthals. When I was growing up the common belief was that except for Neanderthals we out competed the other groups very early on in our history, that obviously wasn't the case. The most interesting thing is none of the other species other than possibly Hobbits which were isolated, there are stories of them into the 1800s, made it past the end of the ice age except for Homo Sapiens. Living conditions should have improved but they either weren't as adaptable as we were to the changing conditions and diet or we out competed them for the resources since it was around that time humans spread to the Americans and extended their range in Europe and Asia.

Re:A total of five (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195635)

We do know that while the Neandertals persisted to within 12,000 to 15,000 years ago, the last Neandertals, like the group found on Gibraltar, were marginalized. It seems reasonably likely that pre-modern members of genus Homo in Eurasia never had that high a population, in no small part because wide portions of Eurasia were pretty inhospitable and could not support dense populations. If there was even a small breeding differential between any of these groups and modern Humans, over twenty or thirty thousand years it could have spelled the end, without any special effort. Populations of any organism pushed to the margins of their previous range will usually die out.

Of course, low population density also increases the likelihood that other genus Homo populations in Eurasia could have been subsumed into the H. sapiens groups as they began to spread across the continent, and while there is some debate about interbreeding, if the populations were small enough you could have had interbreeding without showing some large fraction of modern genes coming from these populations. It would be like throwing a couple of gallons of milk in a swimming pool. Yes, there will be some small portion of the volume of the pool that is milk, but not much.

Re:A total of five (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41195649)

Well, we still have the Negroes.

Re:A total of five (2)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195711)

It's funny how only two species of recent hominids are commonly known

Not funny at all. The first Neanderthals were dug up in 1829, and have had plenty of time to become a feature of popular culture. Except for the unavoidable Modern Humans, every other hominid is a very recent discovery. The Red Deer Cave people were only discovered in 1979. Hobbits and Denisovans were only discovered in the last decade,

Homo floresiensis? (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195815)

The relatively close proximity of Homo florsiensis remains (Indonesia) and the supposed-partly-descended-from-Denisovans modern population (Melanesia) leads me to speculate that H. floresiensis and Denisovans might be the same. Undoubtedly we'll find out in due course. The big problem is the distance between Indonesia and Siberia - if the (sub)species was so wide spread, we'd expect to have many more remains in between.

Oh, shit! (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41195923)

DNA Analysis Suggests Humans Interbred With Denisovans

The first time I read that I could have sworn it said "DNA Analysis Suggests Humans Interbred With Dinosaurs!"

Re:Oh, shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41196443)

lol. Yes. My brain did the same thing when it scanned ahead to the right. It'll probably end up as a display within the "Sodom" branch of the Creationist Museum.

Denise who? (0)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196323)

I'd never heard of Denisovans before - did they save 15% by insuring their cars with Geico?

Definition of "species" (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196325)

Wait, but if we could breed successfully with them then they were not really a different species, by definition. "Race" would be the more accurate word.

"A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring."

Amazing Progress (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196475)

To think the discovery of the structure of DNA is only 60 years old. I believe James Watson is still alive. Sort of like the first moon landing was only 66 years after the first manned powered flight. Or the progress from the first transistor to the modern laptop that has five plus billion of them. Anyone care to give some other examples?

slashdot is late to the party (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41196857)

How is it possible that I found out about this from a TED talk on netflix before it being posted to slashdot (or nature.com?)

Well chronicled (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#41196905)

Hank Ketcham has reported on the menacing Dennisonian for 61 years, with the Wilsonian getting the Ruff end of the stick.
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