Key Facts about Denisovans


12:41 PM

1 min read
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About Denisovans:

  • Denisovans are an extinct species of hominid and a close relative to modern humans.
  • They’re a recent addition to the human family tree—scientists first identified Denisovan remains from a cave in Siberia in 2010.
  • Denisovans lived across a wide range of areas and conditions, from the cold mountains of Siberia and Tibet to the jungles of Southeast Asia during the last Ice Age. 
  • Time Period: 500,000 to 30,000 years ago
  • DNA evidence suggests Denisovans are related to both Neanderthals and modern humans, and may have interbred with both.
  • Denisovans share a common ancestor with both modern humans and Neanderthals.
  • This common ancestor, called Homo heidelbergensis, most likely lived in Africa.
  • Denisovans may have had dark skin, dark hair, and dark eyes.

The Denisovan genome appears to have low genetic diversity, which means their population may never have been very large.

Q1: Who were the Neanderthals?

Neanderthals are our closest extinct human relative. They lived throughout Europe and parts of Asia from about 400,000 until about 40,000 years ago. Neanderthals co-existed with modern humans for long periods of time before eventually becoming extinct. Some defining features of their skulls include the large middle part of the face, angled cheek bones, and a huge nose for humidifying and warming cold, dry air. Their bodies were shorter and stockier than modern humans, another adaptation to living in cold environments.

Source: Denisovans were living on the Tibetan plateau surprisingly recently, scientists say