Her Mother Was a Neanderthal, Her Father Was Not: Bones Reveal “Hybrid” Humans

Researchers found the fossil of a 90,000-year-old human hybrid in Siberia.

Illustration of Neanderthal man sitting around fire holding lance-like weapon; circa 30,000 BC. (Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Scientists have discovered the fossil of an extraordinary human hybrid in a limestone cave in Siberia. The 90,000-year-old bone fragment belonged to a female who had a Neanderthal mother, according to a DNA analysis. But, her father belonged to a branch of ancient humanity known as the Denisovans, reports The New York Times. 

The discovery of this Neanderthals-Denisovan hybrid puts the world as it was tens of thousands of years ago into a new focus, and shines a light on a range of human diversity.

Scientists are not sure what Denisovans looked like or how they behaved, but The Times writes that it is clear they were separate from Neanderthals and modern humans by hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. There had been indirect clues that Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern humans interbred, at least a few times, but this new study offers the first clear evidence.

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