Ancient DNA sparks new mystery

DNA from a bone found in Spain is the oldest yet recovered from a pre-human relative and suggests a surprising link between two types of humanlike ancestors

By Stephen Ornes, 15:35 PM January 2, 2014

DNA from a 400,000-year-old leg bone is breaking records. It also raises questions about how closely ancient humanlike creatures were related to each other. The genetic material is four times older than any other recovered from a pre-human ancestor, or hominid. And scientists say the DNA links this individual, recovered from Spain, with a much later humanlike group called Denisovans. Their remains have been found only in East Asia’s Siberia.

The newly studied leg bone turned up nearly a decade...

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