Objects genes

Objects genes

So the hominines from Sima de los Huesos looked out, which is about 400.000 years during the Middle Pleistozan lived. Image: Kennis Kennis, Madrid Scientific Films

It is becoming more and more complicated in the history of the UR-Europe: a 400 before 400.000 years in Spain’s died hominine proves to be a closer of Siberian Denisova

The evolutionary anthropologists are increasing in the human past with the help of genetic analyzes. And their results boom and ensure that the puzzle parts of the development of humanity have to be re-sorted. A several hundred thousand years of old bones from a North Spanish hollow Barg genome, which characterizes him as a cousin of Denisova person discovered in 2010 – instead of how expected as a direct ancestor of the Neanderthaler.

Long ruled a rather clear picture of the European history. The upright-winning man, Homo Erectus, once settled here and developed against the homo Heidelbergensis from approximately one million years. His first representative, or. His bones were excavated in 1907 in Wall at Heidelberg. He had more preelight features than the Neanderthal (who was already known since 1856), and accordingly, the Heidelberg man was classified as its ancestor.

All other finds supported the theory for a hundred years that Homo Neanderthalensis before about 200.000 years as evolutionary development of the Homo Heidelbergensis The light of the world saw, then successfully spread not only in Europe, but also in Western and Central Asia.

For a long time he was considered our direct urine, but today is considered secured that parallel in Africa the anatomically modern man was created, homo sapiens (see. Really old), who is 100.000 years on the way to conquer the whole world (cf. Modern man came through the backtime).

All people living in the world are homo sapiens, the Neanderthal, who was so different us so much and yet, has left in us only slight genetic traces – a realization we owe the genetics under the Palaoanthropologists (cf. Other brain and lots of sex).

New mixed evolution cards

The tribal history of man has come in motion in recent years, the cards are mixed new and it is characterized by the fact that there was by no means a degree of grade to modern man. Rather, various forms of hominines, which existed at the same time, is likely to be here and there – or not. The human family tree has many branches. A variety of human-like, many of whom do not really constitute our ancestors (lots of homos).

The thigh bone of a 400.000 year old hominines from Sima de los Huesos, Spain, was by Prof. Juan Luis Arsuaga and his team excavated. Photo: Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

Now the international scientific team around Matthias Meyer from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig sets a new map in the rough evolutionary game on the table. In the current ie of the magazine nature, they report on their analysis of the DNA from a 400.000 year old thigh bones. This bone was recovered in the North Spanish hollow Sima de los Huesos near Burgos,.

The sima hollow is a very special place that is even on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Through a steep shaft and close swing, the excavators Muhsam Creeping must be their way to the so-called "Bone pit" Railways in which have been more than 5 in the last century since the 1990s.000 Human fossils of at least 28 individuals were found. The characteristics of the skeletal they became the kind Homo Heidelbergensis assigned, although they also remember morphologically a little at Neanderthaler.

The location threw many questions. The dating was difficult, the experts agreed at the end to an age of at least 300.000 years. A debate began if the karsthohle could have served as a kind of pre-history burden of the UR-Europe. There were found a lot of predator bones, but no remnants of their prey animals – and the discovery of a single Faustkeil was also interpreted by some Prahistorians as evidence of burials, the majority of the experts contradicted vigorously.

Objects genes

Skeleton of a Homo Heidelbergensis from Sima de los Huesos, a unique hollow in northern Spain. Photo: Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

The group around Matthias Meyer has now found a sensational answers on some questions. The evolutionaries of Genetics had first successfully examined the fossils of a hollowable with the help of the new techniques they developed for recovery and sequencing ancient DNS.

Only then, attracted it carefully two grams from a human femoral bone from the SIMA hollow to analyze the genes inherited only from the mother in the interior of tiny power plants of cells, mitochondria. This mitochondrial gene material compares them with sequences of NeanderTalers, Denisovans, as well as living people and humans.

Increase with this method a dating of fossils to an age of about 400.000 years. But even more amazing was the result that the Homo Heidelbergensis From the bone tank of the Sima de los Huesos was a cousin of Denisova man – the two had about 700.000 years a common ancestor. Matthias Meyer comments:

That the mitochondrial DNA of the hominine from Sima shares a common ancestor with the mitochondrial DNS of Denisova man and not with that of the Neanderthal, surprises us, because the fossils of Sima de los Huesos have features that seem to come from the Neanderthaler.


The Denisova man lived in front of approximately 40.000 years in Siberia. In 2010, experts, also under the direction of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, had investigated the genome of these former residents of the Altai Mountains, which determined that it is a new, yet unknown people’s shape.

The lineage between Neanderthal and modern people has about 500.000 years separated, the last common ancestor of the two with Denisova people lived a million years ago (cf. A new person and Siberia to Papua New Guinea). Juan-Luis Arsuaga from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, who led the excavations in the Sima de los Huesos-Hohle, sutrited:

This unexpected result indicates a complicated evolutionary pattern with regard to the emergence of Neanderthalers and modern people. Further studies will hopefully contribute to the clarification of genetic relationships between the hominines from Sima de Los Huesos, Denisova People and the Neanderdals.

A potential explanation is that the SIMA people were originally lived in Europe and Asia and thus presenting ancestors of both groups, and the originally common, only by the nuts inherited mitochondrial DNA in the Neanderthalers in the course of their development was lost. But also other men’s populations have been in the game, as shortly already speculated by evolutionary genetics on a conference of the Royal Society in London (cf. Mr. der Rings-Previous time).

Objects genes

The researchers remove the thigh bone of a hominine from Sima de los Huesos two grams of bone powder and ignited its mitochondrial genome. Photo: Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

In any case, it is already a rough breakthrough that such an uralted human genome can be deciphered today thanks to new techniques today. Nevertheless, the meaning force of the purely mitochondrial DNS is always doubtful. In addition, only one sample was analyzed. The next step had to be watching the nursing formations of the cell core – best of several individuals -.

Whether this will be possible, will show itself, because of course, the substance of the bones is degenerated despite optimal preservation conditions with constant cooling and humidity in the hollow after a long time degenerated and contaminated by microorganisms. Accordingly, the challenge for the evolutionary genetics. Svante Paabo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is confident:

Our results show that we can even examine the genome of human relatives, which lived several hundred thousand years ago. This opened our new and exciting possibilities: we can now announce the DNS of the ancestors of Neanderthalers and Denisova people.

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