/ 19 May 2022

Hello, old human…

Image source: University of Copenhagen/CNRS Paris
Image source: University of Copenhagen/CNRS Paris

Confession time: until yesterday, we hadn’t given our Homo sapien ancestors a whole lot of thought. We might have been away that day/week/month that it was taught at school, but this blew our minds… Researchers reckon they’ve found a tooth in a Laos cave that could be the first piece of evidence of the Denisovans in Southeast Asia. They were a sub-species of archaic humans who experts think lived to our north in modern-day Indonesia, all the way to Siberia, and west to Tibet – but they became extinct about 20,000 years ago. A bit is known about them because Denisovan DNA lives on in some humans today (let’s just say our ancestors liked to spread their wild oats across hominin species…). But there’s few pieces of physical evidence from them and this cave is just the 3rd site in the world where fossils have been found. There’s some tests to go before confirming it’s Denisovan, but researchers are excited. Pretty cool…

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