Remnants of Denisovans, Ancient Humans, Found in Cave in Tibet

Remnants of Denisovans, Ancient Humans, Found in Cave in Tibet

Science

Scientists have found a 160,000-year-old Denisovan jawbone fossil in a cave on the Tibetan plateau. According to a new study, it is the first evidence which pinpoints the existence of Denisovans. Scientists previously found the strange human species back in 2010. At the time, some fossils were found outside Denisova Cave, Siberia. Now the jawbone of a new type of ancient human is found in Western China. Scientists guess these people survived as much as 150,000 years ago. Besides, the remnants belong to a part of a group called Denisovans. Till date the species is a mystery, their only pieces – some bone fragments and teeth, have been found. Previously, scientists have concluded that DNA formation of Denisovans varies slightly than that of Homo Sapiens. It even slightly differs from the DNA structure of Neanderthals.

In short, the very-little known form of ancient human is a third type of human. Though, it is the first time a Denisovan fossil has been discovered apart from Siberia. A significant archaeological discovery, published on May 1 in journal Nature reveals the fact. Scientists have found the jawbone at Baishiya Karst Cave on the Tibetan Plateau at an altitude of 10,761 feet. Existence of the fossil on such a high altitude sheds light on Denisovans unique feature. The human ancestors were resistant to altitude sickness and had sharp molars or back tooth. As a result, Tibetans and Sherpas have a genetic form that enables them to survive on high altitudes where oxygen levels are very low. It is one of the features, which tracks back to Denisovans.

The newly found jawbone fossil was in good condition and featured a primitive shape. The age and other aspects of the fossil are similar to those of the earlier-found Denisovan fossils. It means that the communities had close ties with one another. The human species had travelled across Asia. Dongju Zhang, study’s author, said those ancestors occupied the Tibetan Plateau in the Middle Pleistocene. They slowly adapted the low-oxygen atmosphere far ago from the arrival of modern human beings.

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