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Thu Apr 8, 2021, 03:33 AM

Some of Europe's Oldest-Known Modern Humans Are Distantly Related to Native Americans

Genome sequencing shows some individuals share family ties with surprising populations, and all boast plenty of Neanderthal relatives

By Brian Handwerk
APRIL 7, 2021 11:00AM

Forty-five thousand years ago, some of the first modern humans to call Europe home lived in and around Bulgaria’s Bacho Kiro Cave. They created adornments, like beads and pendants of cave bear teeth. They fashioned stone and bone tools and colored them with red ochre. They hunted, butchered and feasted on local animals. Artifacts of this lifestyle were left scattered in the cave, but these ancient humans left little evidence of themselves. Just a single tooth and a few tiny bits of bone survived to the present day. Yet those fragments contained enough genetic material that scientists have now recreated some of the humans’ stories, revealing surprising information about both their ancestors and their descendants.

Two genetic sequencing studies published in different journals this week have sketched out the family trees of Europe’s earliest known modern humans, three 45,000-year-old individuals from Bacho Kiro Cave and one similarly aged skull from a Czechian hill site known as Zlatý kůň (Golden Horse). Only the Bacho Kiro individuals have living descendants and they’re found in surprising places—in East Asia and the Americas. The ancient humans from both ancient European sites do share one common ancestral strain—a healthy dose of Neanderthal DNA. Among the Bacho Kiro humans, evidence seems to show that when modern humans moved into Europe they commingled with Neanderthals longer, and later, than is commonly believed.

In 2015, scientists working in the Bulgarian cave found human fossils along with thousands of bones from butchered animals, and an assemblage of Paleolithic artifacts. A single molar stood out as unmistakably human, but the rest of the bones were broken bits that had to be identified as human by using protein mass spectrometry, which can spot uniquely human protein sequences not found in bones of other species. The human bones were then radiocarbon-dated to between 42,580 and 45,930 years before present. Researchers also produced tiny bits of tooth and bone powder from which they could extract DNA and sequence the genomes of three different individuals who once called the cave home.

While their age suggests these individuals were among the earliest modern humans to live in Europe, their DNA reveals that they have little relation to humans now known as European.


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Reply Some of Europe's Oldest-Known Modern Humans Are Distantly Related to Native Americans (Original post)
Judi Lynn Thursday OP
sprinkleeninow Thursday #1

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Thu Apr 8, 2021, 03:44 AM

1. Ut oh..

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