Saturday, November 05, 2022

Ancient South American DNA

 This was sort of expected in the last few years (after being thought impossible before that) but not yet demonstrated. Ancient South Americans Have Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA.

The existence of DNA from extinct human species such as Neanderthals and Denisovans has been found by researchers studying the genomes of ancient South Americans. The report was published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B1. The study, which examined ancient genomes from skeletal remains from Brazil, Panama, and Uruguay, also revealed the early South Americans' transcontinental travel habits. Neanderthal or Denisovan ancestry has never before been linked to ancient South Americans, which is what makes this study remarkable.

I was surprised at the "transcontinental travel," but I shouldn't have been. It's a subscription site, but this looks like the underlying study.  It bears mentioning that the individuals whose DNA is being studied might have no descendants in modern times.  We have always found this around the world, of ancient humans who are not our ancestors, but this is increasingly the case with finds in new areas like this one.

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