Recently scientist decode the DNA from leg bone found by chance on the bank of a Siberian river which has helped work out when early humans interbred with our extinct cousins, the Neanderthals.
Mysterious Siberian bone(s):
Radiocarbon dating of pieces of the leg bone put the remains at around 45,000 years old. The scientist went on to extract DNA from the bone, which allowed them to reconstruct the oldest modern human genome ever.
Prior to the latest study, the oldest modern human genome came from the 24,000-year-old remains of a boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in easterbn Siberia. (More information in our earlier article)
Neanderthales and modern humans met and shared DNA earlier than we thought
About 2 per cent of many people’s genomes today is made up of Neanderthal DNA, a result of interbreeding between the two species that can be seen in everyone except people from sub-Saharan Africa. The so-called Ust’-Ishim man, named after the town in western Siberia where he was found, carries a similar proportion of Neanderthal DNA in his genome as present-day Eurasians, and a combination of radiocarbon and genetic dating shows he died only about 45,000 years ago.
By comparing Ust’-Ishim’s genome to various groups of modern and ancient humans, the researchers are filling in gaps in the map of initial human migrations around the globe. They found that he is as genetically similar to present-day East Asians as to ancient genomes found in Western Europe and Siberia, suggesting that the population he was part of split from the ancestors of both Europeans and East Asians, prior to their divergence from each other.