Oldest-ever human DNA found in 400,000-year-old ‘Pit of Bones’ poses evolutionary mystery
2013 12 05

By Malcolm Ritter | Associated Press



Scientists have reached farther back than ever into the ancestry of humans to recover and analyze DNA, using a bone found in Spain that’s estimated to be 400,000 years old. So far, the achievement has provided more questions than answers about our ancient forerunners.

The feat surpasses the previous age record of about 100,000 years for genetic material recovered from members of the human evolutionary line. Older DNA has been mapped from animals.

Experts said the work shows that new techniques for working with ancient DNA may lead to more discoveries about human origins.

Results were presented online Wednesday in the journal Nature by Matthias Meyer and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, with co-authors in Spain and China.

They retrieved the DNA from a thighbone found in a cave in northern Spain. It is among thousands of fossils from at least 28 individuals to be recovered from a chamber called the “Pit of the Bones.” The remains are typically classified as Homo heidelbergensis, but not everybody agrees.

The age of the bones has been hard to determine. A rough estimate from analyzing the DNA is around 400,000 years, which supports what Meyer said is the current view of the anthropologists excavating the site. Todd Disotell, an anthropology professor at New York University, said geological techniques suggest the remains are older than 300,000 years but it’s not clear by how much. By comparison, modern humans arose only about 200,000 years ago.

The researchers mapped almost the complete collection of so-called mitochondrial DNA. While the DNA most people know about is found in the nucleus of a cell, mitochondrial DNA lies outside the nucleus. It is passed only from mother to child.

Researchers used the DNA to construct possible evolutionary family trees that include the Spanish individuals and two groups that showed up much later: Neanderthals and an evolutionary cousin of Neanderthals called Denisovans. They assumed the DNA would show similarities to Neanderthal DNA, since the Spanish fossils have anatomical features reminiscent of Neanderthals.

But surprisingly, the DNA instead showed a closer relationship to Denisovans, who lived in Siberia and apparently elsewhere in Asia, far from the Spanish cave. Scientists are uncertain of how to explain that, Meyer said.

We had been operating for a while under the assumption that the oldest DNA we’re going to get is about 100,000 year. [Now] we might take a shot at some older samples that we just never would have bothered with in the past

[...]

Read the full article at: nationalpost.com



Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Lloyd Pye, Brien Foerster & Jerry Wills - Human Origins & Lost Races

Roundtable - Hour 1 - Man’s Genesis & The Future Direction of Humanity

Robert Bauval - Black Genesis, The Ancient People of Nabta Playa & Mars Anomalies

Lloyd Pye - Human Origins, The Intervention Theory & The Starchild Skull

Josh Reeves - Hour 1 - The Lost Secrets of Ancient America

Steven & Evan Strong - Hour 1 - Aboriginal Origins & Egyptian Glyphs in Australia

Danny Vendramini - Hour 1 - Them & Us: Neanderthal Predation Theory

Troy McLachlan & Theodore Holden - Hour 1 - Cosmos in Collision: Antique Solar System, Neanderthals & Modern Man

Gregg Braden - Crisis in Thinking & False Assumptions of an Incomplete Science

Michael Tellinger - Adam’s Calendar & Slave Species of God





Related Articles
Paleolithic Giants in America
First Americans came from Europe, NOT Asia?
A comet DID wipe out first North American prehistoric humans: Ice core data suggests cosmic impact killed off Clovis people
Clovis people not 1st to arrive in North America


Latest News from our Front Page

Document Confirms British were Plotting to Invade Germay Before Germany Invaded Poland
2014 09 02
The declaration of war against Germany had nothing to do with Poland, and was in fact a brutal war of aggression launched for economic reasons against the peaceful German people. As you can see in Judea Declares War on Germany. From dailymail.co.uk: An early version of the ‘King’s Speech’ reveals Britain was preparing to declare war on Germany before Hitler invaded ...
Study Claims Cave Art Made by Neanderthals
2014 09 02
A series of lines scratched into rock in a cave near the southwestern tip of Europe could be proof that Neanderthals were more intelligent and creative than previously thought. The cross-hatched engravings inside Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar are the first known examples of Neanderthal rock art, according to a team of scientists who studied the site. The find is significant because ...
EU Nanny State to Ban Toasters, Kettles & Hair Dryers!
2014 09 02
"Despite arctic sea ice growing by 43%, the EU nanny state is set to ban toasters, hair dryers and kettles in the name of preventing global warming."
Nigeria launches new biometric ID card - brought to you by Mastercard
2014 09 02
Yesterday afternoon, president Goodluck Jonathan became the first recipient of Nigeria’s new national eID card, in a ceremony at the presidential villa in the capital Abuja. The cards will be issued to 13 million Nigerians as part of a pilot project, with the ultimate aim of producing a national identity management system (NIMS). Nigeria’s NIMS is an ambitious attempt to consolidate ...
LA Times Now Describing Illegal Aliens As ’Informal Workers’ Who ’Labor Unofficially’
2014 09 02
Via Weasel Zippers, we learned the Los Angeles Times has a new term for illegal aliens in the work force: they’re “informal workers,” and that doesn’t mean they don’t arrive on the job in a tuxedo. Times reporter Tiffany Hsu (a "UC Berkeley grad") began her Saturday story with the new I-word (and illegal immigrants also “labored unofficially” in "gray employment"): Informal ...
More News »