Scientists Have Sequenced the Oldest Human Genome and Now History May Need to Be Rewritten

Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Sci-Tech, Science with 7 Comments
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skeleton remains-compressed

By Katharine J. Tobal | Collective Evolution

Scientists have discovered remains of the oldest human DNA sequence ever recorded, taken from a cave in Northern Spain known as Sima De Los Huesos, or the pit of bones. This discovery is helping to reconstruct the evolutionary sequence of human species.

The teeth and thigh bones remnants had been fossilized rather than frozen, making DNA extraction comparatively difficult.  Examination of the bones revealed they were 430,000 years old — 100,000 years older than the previous oldest human skull on record, and 200,000 years older than modern humans.


© Kennis & Kennis/Madrid Scientific Films

© Kennis & Kennis/Madrid Scientific Films

To find out more, a team led by Matthias Meyer at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, pieced together parts of the hominin’s nuclear DNA from samples taken from a tooth and a thigh bone, New Scientist reported.

Paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum in London, who wasn’t involved in the research, told Nature Magazine“It’s fascinating and keeps us all on our toes trying to make sense of it all. Instead of just being stuck with trying to resolve the last 100,000 years, we can really start to put some dates from DNA further down the human tree.”

Related Article: Discovery of Oldest DNA Scrambles Human Origins Picture – Leading To More Questions Than Answers

As the fossils were found in Northern Spain, scientists expected the specimen to be Neanderthal. They were accordingly quite surprised to see it more closely related to Denisovans, a sister family to Neanderthals.

Photo Credits: Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

Photo Credits: Javier Trueba, Madrid Scientific Films

Researchers consulted with LIVESCIENCE, which reported that “this man carried a similar level of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians. Their research suggests Neanderthal genes flowed into the ancestors of this man 7,000 to 13,000 years before he lived.”

From this, they concluded that Neanderthals might have mated amongst each other about 50,000 – 60,000 years ago. That gave the sample the genome of Neanderthals. The mitochondria DNA is similar to that of the Denisovans, who apparently lived thousands of kilometers away. The genome of the discovered sample thus resembled more closely that of the Denisovans from Siberia, who were discovered and collated only a few years back, in 2010.

According to Ewen Callaway from Nature Magazine:


The Sima hominin skulls have the beginnings of a prominent brow ridge, as well as other traits typical of Neanderthals. But other features, and uncertainties around their age – some studies put them at 600,000 years old, others closer to 400,000 – convinced many researchers that they might instead belong to an older species known as Homo heidelbergensis.

Related Article: Scientists Find Bones Of New Human Species Buried In South African Cave (Video)

Previously it had been thought that our ancestors split from the Neanderthal-Denisovan Ancestor between 315,000 and 540,000 years ago. But if matured Neanderthals already existed 430,000 years ago, this split is likely to have taken place much earlier — perhaps as early as 750,000 years ago, as suggested by the collateral researches.

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7 Reader Comments

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  1. 447717755438475@facebook.com' Alexander Temple says:

    So, we know Europeans lived in caves. Big news.

  2. 1006032719459310@facebook.com' Llewellyn Eruk'Ra says:

    What would these calculations boil down to if time did not exist? Well its fact, man made time does not exist, the universe has no begining & no end! Saying that we evolved is gobeldy gook as they want to keep you in a box & limit your potential of being the limitless conscious being that you in fact are <3

    • 1770214656532086@facebook.com' John Hughes says:

      Well said. Time only exists for humans, being mortal. We cannot comprehend the concept of eternal because we live and die, our brains simply can not understand as an ant can’t understand computers.

  3. 10206733050259767@facebook.com' Jacqui Bonnel says:

    Actually it is kinda a big deal…only twenty percent of the current earth population belong to this group

  4. 477085049141915@facebook.com' Lisa Handley says:

    But have we ??

  5. 490618547769602@facebook.com' Stephen Ambrosich says:

    …. sexual expression and the cross mingling of genetic materials is the divine experiment.

  6. 181303182254565@facebook.com' Danny Grimes says:

    Look A Little Harder

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