Sankararaman and Reich also found evidence that Papua New Guineans have a Denisovan gene that may help them detect very subtle scents.Still, they also noticed that no trace of Denisovan ancestry remained on modern humans’ X chromosome or on the genes that express themselves in the tissue of the testes.Fossil evidence from Denisova Cave suggests that the ancient species lived there from as early as 170,000 years ago to at least 50,000 years ago, and who knows when they might have occupied the rest of Asia.
“On the other hand, it’s entirely possible, and I think plausible, that what you’re seeing in India is evidence of mixture of ancient South Asian ancestors with local Denisovans,” that is, an entirely separate mating event than the one that led to Denisovan ancestry in Oceania, Reich says.
In fact, he explains, “the data could be consistent with as many as three independent mixture events with Denisovans.” Although it’s difficult to determine which model is right without more data from both fossils and modern human genomes, “I don’t think it’s that hard to imagine that there were multiple admixture events,” says Joshua Akey, a population geneticist at the University of Washington, Seattle, who was not involved in the study.
So, if you have Denisovan ancestry, you can thank your ancient grandmothers.
Shirley Campbell is a social anthropologist with a special interest in the indigenous peoples of Australia, Melanesia, and the Pacific.
This compares with about 2% from Neandertals for all non-African genomes.
Sankararaman and Reich found another hot spot of Denisovan ancestry in an unexpected place: South Asia.Male Denisovan–hybrids, in other words, represented a genetic dead end.The traces of Denisovan ancestry researchers see today had to have been passed down by female hybrids.Meet other single adults in Papua New Guinea like you - whether you are a single parent, divorced, separated, or have never been married.Whether you're from Papua New Guinea, traveling, or just looking to meet people from Papua New Guinea online, you can use our filters and advanced search to find single women and men who match your interests.That’s a pattern scientists see in many interspecies hybrids, and it’s a sign that when the two species get together and make babies, their male offspring are infertile.