Originally Posted by Requiem
So what evidence do you have to support multiple origins?
The Denisovan genome, reported online Thursday in the journal Science, was derived from tiny quantities of shredded DNA extracted from a finger bone found in a Russian cave in 2008, as well as a tooth found later.
What is striking, scientists said, is that it is every bit as detailed as a sequence generated with a fresh blood or saliva sample from someone alive today.
Analysis of the genome and comparisons with ours and the Neanderthals' will offer insights into the history of Homo sapiens — who we mated with, where and when — as well as the unique genetic changes that make modern humans who they are, scientists said.
Study leader Svante Paabo, a pioneer in decoding ancient genomes, said it would take biologists decades to understand the meaning of all these tiny differences.
"Many of them may have no function — but among them will undoubtedly hide some crucial changes that are essential for what made modern human history possible," said Paabo, director of the department of evolutionary genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.