Ancient humans 'rampantly interbred' with Neanderthals and a mystery species
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Ancient humans 'rampantly interbred' with Neanderthals and a mystery species


From The Mail

The findings come from fresh analysis of DNA from a Denisovan, a hominin discovered after the finding of bone and teeth remains in a Siberian cave, and published in Nature.

The new study of the genomes was carried out by David Reich of Harvard Medical School.

He said: 'Denisovans appear more distinct from modern humans than Neanderthals.

He added: 'Denisovans harbour ancestry from an unknown archaic population, unrelated to Neanderthals', New Scientist reports.

Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London who was present at the  presentation, said: 'What it begins to suggest is that we're looking at a Lord Of The Rings-type world - that there were many hominid populations.'

It comes after ancient viruses inherited from Neanderthals were found in modern human DNA.

Scientists are investigating possible links between the 'endogenous retroviruses', which are hardwired into DNA, and modern diseases such as AIDs and cancer.

Researchers compared DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans with that obtained from cancer patients.

They found evidence of Neanderthal and Denisovan viruses in the modern DNA, suggesting that they originated in a common ancestor more than half a million years ago.

Neanderthals co-existed with our ancestors in Europe for thousands of years, but belonged to a different human sub-species. They eventually became extinct around 30,000 years ago.

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