artist’s interpretation of the hominins that lived near the Sima de los Huesos
cave in Spain. Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films.|
Discovery of Oldest DNA Scrambles Human Evolution Picture. By Karl Gruber. National Geographic Daily News, December 4, 2013.
New tests on human bones hidden in a Spanish cave for some 400,000 years set a new record for the oldest human DNA sequence ever decoded—and may scramble the scientific picture of our early relatives.
Baffling 400,000-Year-Old-Clue to Human Origins. By Carl Zimmer. New York Times, December 4, 2013.
Sima de los Huesos: Scientists Sequence Genome of Enigmatic Hominin. Sci-News.com, December 4, 2013.
Hominin DNA baffles experts. By Ewen Callaway. Nature, Vol. 504, No. 7478 (December 4, 2013).
A mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos. By Matthias Meyer et al. Nature, published online, December 4, 2013.
Excavations of a complex of caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain have unearthed hominin fossils that range in age from the early Pleistocene to the Holocene. One of these sites, the “Sima de los Huesos” (“pit of bones”), has yielded the world’s largest assemblage of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils, consisting of at least 28 individuals dated to over 300,000 years ago. The skeletal remains share a number of morphological features with fossils classified as Homo heidelbergensis and also display distinct Neanderthal-derived traits. Here we determine an almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos and show that it is closely related to the lineage leading to mitochondrial genomes of Denisovans, an eastern Eurasian sister group to Neanderthals. Our results pave the way for DNA research on hominins from the Middle Pleistocene.
bones were first thought to belong to European Neanderthals, |
but analysis showed they are genetically closer to the Siberian Denisovans.