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Yet another extinct species of humans found in Southeast Asia?

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  • Yet another extinct species of humans found in Southeast Asia?

    First it was the "Hobbits" on the island of Flores (Homo floresiensis) and two years ago it was another discovery in the Philippines (Homo luzonensis). Now it is looking like a third human species has been identified, one which lived on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi -- but much more recently than the other two (only some 7000 years ago).

    An international team of researchers discovered a largely complete and well preserved skeleton with skull in the southern portion of the island in a cave known as Leang Panninge ("Bat Cave" -- no, there was no sign of Bruce Wayne) and have sequenced the DNA from a piece of the skull from a young woman who lived back then and while found that she shares a large percentage of DNA matched that of Papua New Guineans and Aboriginal Australians living today, much of it didn't. Also, like the genome of those two indigenous groups, her genome contained traces of Denisovan DNA (the extinct Ice Age group thought to have interbred with Neanderthals as well as Homo sapiens (us).

    Basically, her genome represents a previously unknown divergent human lineage, which does not appear anywhere else on the planet today.

    The researchers believe that the girl was from a group who had been in Sulawesi since the arrival of modern humans up to 30,000 years earlier. These people, called the Toalean appear to have been largely restricted to the southern peninsula of the island and were around as recently as 1500 years ago. They were hunter-gatherers who killed their prey with stone-tipped arrowheads known as Maros points and may be responsible for ancient cave art in the area as well.

    Does all this mean that they will be declared a separate human species. No. Not really. A good deal more would be needed. So far, it looks like they represent a distinct group but that does not automatically equate to species.

    Source: Oldest genome from Wallacea shows previously unknown ancient human relations


    International research team isolates DNA from modern human buried 7,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi

    The oldest genome of a modern human from the Wallacea region – the islands between western Indonesia and Papua New Guinea – indicates a previously undescribed ancient human relationship. The international study was accomplished through close collaboration with several researchers and institutions from Indonesia. It was headed by Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig) and the Science of Human History (Jena), Cosimo Posth of the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment at the University of Tübingen, and Adam Brumm of Griffith University, Australia.

    Researchers were able to isolate sufficient genetic material from the skull of an individual buried more than 7,000 years ago on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It belonged to a hunter-gatherer society and was interred at the site now called Leang Panninge (‘Bat Cave’). A large part of the genetic code matched that of today’s Papua New Guineans and Aboriginal Australians. Yet portions of the genome did not match these groups. This brings new surprises about the evolution of modern humans.

    Almost completely preserved skeleton

    The Wallacean Islands formed stepping stones in the spread of the first modern humans from Eurasia to Oceania, probably more than 50,000 years ago. Archaeological finds show that the ancestors of our species lived in Wallacea as early as 47,000 years ago. Yet few human skeletons have been found. One of the most distinctive archaeological discoveries in this region is the Toalean technology complex, dated to a much more recent period between 8,000 and 1,500 years ago. Among the objects manufactured by the people of the Toalean culture are the characteristic stone arrowheads known as Maros points. The Toalean culture has only been found in a relatively small area on the southern peninsula of Sulawesi. “We were able to assign the burial at Leang Panninge to that culture,” says Adam Brumm. “This is remarkable since it is the first largely complete and well preserved skeleton associated with the Toalean culture.”

    Selina Carlhoff, doctoral candidate at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and lead author of the study, isolated DNA from the petrous bone of the skull. “It was a major challenge, as the remains had been strongly degraded by the tropical climate,” she says. The analysis showed that the Leang Panninge individual was related to the first modern humans to spread to Oceania from Eurasia some 50,000 years ago. Like the genome of the indigenous inhabitants of New Guinea and Australia, the Leang Panninge individual’s genome contained traces of Denisovan DNA. The Denisovans are an extinct group of archaic humans known primarily from finds in Siberia and Tibet. “The fact that their genes are found in the hunter-gatherers of Leang Panninge supports our earlier hypothesis that the Denisovans occupied a far larger geographical area,” says Johannes Krause.

    Another piece in the great genetic puzzle

    A comparison with genomic data of hunter-gatherers who lived west of Wallacea at about the same time as the Leang Panninge individual provided further clues – that data showed no traces of Denisovan DNA. “The geographic distribution of Denisovans and modern humans may have overlapped in the Wallacea region. It may well be the key place where Denisova people and the ancestors of indigenous Australians and Papuans interbred,” says Cosimo Posth.

    However, the Leang Panninge individual also carries a large proportion of its genome from an ancient Asian population. “That came as a surprise, because we do know of the spread of modern humans from eastern Asia into the Wallacea region – but that took place far later, around 3,500 years ago. That was long after this individual was alive,” Johannes Krause reports. Furthermore, the research team has found no evidence that the group Leang Panninge belonged to left descendants among today’s population in Wallacea. It remains unclear what happened to the Toalean culture and its people. “This new piece of the genetic puzzle from Leang Panninge illustrates above all just how little we know about the genetic history of modern humans in southeast Asia,” Posth says



    Source

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  • #2
    Yeah, that's not going to be a new species - it's all going to be well within the modern human lineage. Just another branch that we didn't know existed until the ability to sequence ancient DNA came along. In this case, it appears that the population is a result of the lineage that produced aboriginal Australian and Papuan populations occupying the area, and then coming in contact with a group from east Asia, which likely migrated into the area. There's two surprises here:
    The population branched off from the other aboriginal groups about 37,000 years ago, which is quite early.
    A non-Polynesian group with East Asian heritage apparently migrated into the region and interbred with them.

    As with a lot of groups we're now finding, this is a ghost lineage: it doesn't seem to be represented in any populations that are alive today.

    The whole paper's open access if you want a look:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03823-6
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
      Yeah, that's not going to be a new species - it's all going to be well within the modern human lineage. Just another branch that we didn't know existed until the ability to sequence ancient DNA came along. In this case, it appears that the population is a result of the lineage that produced aboriginal Australian and Papuan populations occupying the area, and then coming in contact with a group from east Asia, which likely migrated into the area. There's two surprises here:
      The population branched off from the other aboriginal groups about 37,000 years ago, which is quite early.
      A non-Polynesian group with East Asian heritage apparently migrated into the region and interbred with them.

      As with a lot of groups we're now finding, this is a ghost lineage: it doesn't seem to be represented in any populations that are alive today.

      The whole paper's open access if you want a look:
      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03823-6
      Thanks. I couldn't find the paper yesterday and figured it was being released so I planned on checking for it over the next week or so -- but now don't have to.

      I'm always still in trouble again

      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
        Yeah, that's not going to be a new species - it's all going to be well within the modern human lineage. Just another branch that we didn't know existed until the ability to sequence ancient DNA came along. In this case, it appears that the population is a result of the lineage that produced aboriginal Australian and Papuan populations occupying the area, and then coming in contact with a group from east Asia, which likely migrated into the area. There's two surprises here:
        The population branched off from the other aboriginal groups about 37,000 years ago, which is quite early.
        A non-Polynesian group with East Asian heritage apparently migrated into the region and interbred with them.

        As with a lot of groups we're now finding, this is a ghost lineage: it doesn't seem to be represented in any populations that are alive today.

        The whole paper's open access if you want a look:
        https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03823-6
        I agree not a new species.
        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

        go with the flow the river knows . . .

        Frank

        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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