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For the first time, scientists have reconstructed the face of Denisovans who lived alongside humans - and even interbred with them - some 100,000 years ago, before they went extinct.
The reconstructions are the first glimpse into what our elusive relatives actually looked like, given that everything we know about Denisovans comes from a single pinky bone, three teeth, and one lower jaw, found only in two caves in Asia.
Israeli - Researchers - Method - Fossils - DNA
Now, Israeli researchers have developed a new method of reconstructing fossils based on ancient DNA, and have used it to reveal the looks of our long-lost relatives.
They extracted the DNA from the little finger of a woman, who lived between 74 and 82 thousand years ago.
Reconstruction - Anatomy - Denisovans - Author - Liran
'We provide the first reconstruction of the skeletal anatomy of Denisovans,' says author Liran Carmel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
'In many ways, Denisovans resembled Neanderthals, but in some traits, they resembled us, and in others they were unique.'
Denisovans - Neanderthals - Humans - Team - Neanderthals
Denisovans are more related to Neanderthals than they are to humans. So, the team expected them to resemble Neanderthals.
The new reconstructions, based on DNA from a finger bone of a juvenile female who lived sometime between 82,000 and 74,000 years ago, now show Denisovans did indeed resemble Neanderthals, but they also shared features with humans.
Aspects - Example - Arch - Skulls
And in some aspects, they were unique. For example, they had a large dental arch and very wide skulls.
'We were particularly excited to find those anatomical traits where Denisovans differed from both modern humans and Neanderthals,' Carmel told MailOnline.
Researchers - Findings - Journal - Cell - Features
Overall, the researchers who reported their findings in the journal Cell, identified 56 anatomical features in which Denisovans differed from modern humans or Neanderthals, 34 of them in the skull.
To do so, they've used chemical modifications that influence gene activity without changing the underlying genetic sequence of As, Gs, Ts, and...
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