The skull of a woman who lived in the heart of Europe 45,000 years ago solved some of the unknowns about the disturbing origin of our species.
(Above: Side view of Zlatýkůň’s almost complete skull. Image credit: Martin Frouz)
At least 45,000 years ago, modern humans appeared in Europe, when Neanderthals were already here. We know that we mingled with them. But how much is it?
Alliance between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals
DNA shows that sexual intercourse is fruitful, most likely between Neanderthal women and Homo sapiens, but it is difficult to know how often they are.
A study was published in natural Genomic data of three people are provided, which can be traced back between 45,930 and 42,580 years from Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria.
They are the earliest late Pleistocene modern humans in Europe so far.
They belonged to the migration of modern humans to Europe, which was previously unknown in the genetic record, and provided evidence that there was at least some continuity between the early modern humans in Europe and the later Eurasian humans.
In addition, these three people have Neanderthal ancestors for several generations in their family history, which confirms the fusion of early modern Europeans with Neanderthals and suggests that this mixing may be common. of.
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The skull of a woman from 45,000 years ago
In another article, Natural ecology and evolution , Describes the discovery after sequencing the nearly complete skull genome first discovered in Zlatý K discovered in Czech Republic. It is a woman’s skull.
The Neanderthal DNA fragment in its genome is longer than Ust’-Ishim in Siberia, which is the earliest modern human ever, indicating that it lived in the heart of Europe 45,000 years ago.
The ancient DNA of Neanderthals and early modern humans recently indicated that these groups crossed somewhere in the Near East after modern humans left Africa about 50,000 years ago.
Everyone outside of Africa carries approximately 2% to 3% of Neanderthal DNA
As a result, everyone outside of Africa carries 2% to 3% of Neanderthal DNA.
In the modern human genome, these Neandertal DNA fragments become shorter and shorter over time, and their length can be used to estimate a person’s survival time.
The archaeological data published last year further showed that modern humans already existed in Southeast Europe 47-43,000 years ago, but due to the lack of fairly complete human fossils and genomic DNA, people have no idea who the first human settlers were. -Or the relationship with ancient and contemporary human groups.
The researchers called it Zlatýk researchers (Golden Horses in the Czech Republic), and they were discovered for the first time in the Czech Republic. The DNA fragments of their Neandertals are longer than the 45,000-year-old Ust’-Ishim individuals from Siberia.
Analysis shows that she was part of a group that formed before the split between Europeans and Asians today.
A recent anthropological study based on the shape of the skull of Zlatýkůň showed that the species is similar to people who lived in Europe before the “Last Ice Age” at least 30,000 years ago, but radiocarbon dating has produced sporadic results, some in 15,000 years ago. It was not until Jaroslav Brůžek of the Prague Academy of Sciences and Petr Velemínský of the Prague National Museum collaborated with the Genetics Laboratory of the Max Planck Institute for Human History Science that a clearer picture emerged.
Skull is contaminated with cow DNA
Co-leader Cosimo Posth explained: “We found evidence of contaminated bovine DNA in the bones analyzed, which indicates that the radiocarbon date returned by the bovine base gum used to strengthen the skull is later than the actual age of the fossil.” The author of the study. Posth was formerly the head of the research team at the Max Planck Institute for Human History Sciences and is now a professor of archaeology and paleogenes at the University of Tubingen.
However, it was Neanderthal DNA that led the team to reach the main conclusions about the age of the fossil.
Zlatýkůň carries approximately the same amount of Neandertal DNA in its genome as Ust Ishim or other modern humans outside of Africa, but the fragments of Neandertal descent are longer on average.
The study’s co-lead author Kay Pluffer said: “Our DNA analysis showed that Zlat kůň crossed with Neanderthals more recently.”
Zlatýkůň represents the oldest human genome to date
Scientists have been able to estimate that Zlatýkůň lived approximately 2,000 years after the last hybridization. Based on these findings, the research team believes that Zlatýkůň represents the oldest human genome to date, roughly the same age as Ust’-Ishim, even if it is not a few hundred years old.
The extinction of the Golden Horse Group
“It is very interesting that the earliest modern humans in Europe failed in the end! The lead author and director of the study, Johannes Krause, said that with Ust-Ishim (Ust’-Ishim) Like the oldest European skull from Oase 1, Zlaty does not show the genetic continuity of modern humans who lived in Europe 40,000 years ago. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology .
One possible explanation for this discontinuity is the eruption of volcanic rocks on the island of Campania about 39,000 years ago, which severely affected the climate in the northern hemisphere and may have reduced the presence of Neanderthals and early modern European humans in the glaciers. The survival chance of the century.
As the advancement of ancient DNA reveals more information about the history of our species, future genetic research on other early European individuals will help reconstruct the history and decline of early modern humans from Africa to Eurasia. .
Complete bibliographic information
Title: Genome Sequence of Modern Human Skulls Over 45,000 Years Old in Zlaty Kůň Region, Czech Republic
Author: Kay Pu Lvfu (KayPrüfer), Cosimo Porth (Cosimo Posth), Ho Yu, Alexander Stoessel (Alexander Stoessel), Maria · A · Si Pilu (Thibaut Deviese), Mark · Marco Mattonai, Erika Ribechini, Thomas Higham, Petr Velemínský, Yaroslav Bruzek (Jaroslav Brůžek), Johannes Kratz
Journal: Natural Ecology and Evolution