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Nuclear DNA sequences from the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos hominins



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Meyer, Matthias and Arsuaga, Juan Luis and Filippo, Cesare de and Nagel, Sarah and Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer and Nickel, Birgit and Martínez Mendizábal, Ignacio and Gracia Téllez, Ana and Bermúdez de Castro, José María and Carbonell, Eudald and Viola, Bence and Kelso, Janet and Prüfer, Kay and Pääbo, Svante (2016) Nuclear DNA sequences from the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos hominins. Nature (London), 531 (7596). pp. 504-507. ISSN 0028-0836

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Official URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature17405


A unique assemblage of 28 hominin individuals, found in Sima de los Huesos in the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain, has recently been dated to approximately 430,000 years ago. An interesting question is how these Middle Pleistocene hominins were related to those who lived in the Late Pleistocene epoch, in particular to Neanderthals in western Eurasia and to Denisovans, a sister group of Neanderthals so far known only from southern Siberia. While the Sima de los Huesos hominins share some derived morphological features with Neanderthals, the mitochondrial genome retrieved from one individual from Sima de los Huesos is more closely related to the mitochondrial DNA of Denisovans than to that of Neanderthals. However, since the mitochondrial DNA does not reveal the full picture of relationships among populations, we have investigated DNA preservation in several individuals found at Sima de los Huesos. Here we recover nuclear DNA sequences from two specimens, which show that the Sima de los Huesos hominins were related to Neanderthals rather than to Denisovans, indicating that the population divergence between Neanderthals and Denisovans predates 430,000 years ago. A mitochondrial DNA recovered from one of the specimens shares the previously described relationship to Denisovan mitochondrial DNAs, suggesting, among other possibilities, that the mitochondrial DNA gene pool of Neanderthals turned over later in their history.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:57545
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 17:46
Last Modified:01 Apr 2020 11:20

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