Source - Ancient Origins
26 OCTOBER, 2014 - 01:22
A new study published in the journal Nature has revealed the DNA results from a 45,000-year-old leg bone from Siberia, producing the oldest genome sequence ever carried out for Homo sapiens – nearly twice the age of the next-oldest known complete modern human genome. The results have helped pinpoint when Homo sapiens first interbred with Neanderthals, and adds more pieces to the puzzle of ancient human migration across the world.
The ancient leg bone was found in 2008 by a Russian artist and mammoth ivory collector, Nikolai Paeritov, who found the remains on the left bank of the river Irtysh near the settlement of Ust’-Ishim in western Siberia. The human femur was sent to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where testing revealed that the bone dated back 45,000 years and, incredibly, still contained well-preserved DNA, enabling them to sequence the genome to the same degree of accuracy as that achieved for modern-day samples.
|The River Irtysh, Siberia. (Wikimedia Commons)|
|45,000-year-old femur bone from Ust’-Ishim has shed new light on Neanderthal interbreeding with modern humans. (Sergei Melnikov)|
The research team expressed the hope of finding and sequencing much older human DNA, which may help piece together the very complex human family tree.
Featured image: Artist's impression of a Neanderthal with feathers (by Mauro Cutrona)
By April Holloway