Daughter of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan Found in Denisova Cave

Researchers from Novosibirsk State University and the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography SB RAS, together with colleagues from Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, analyzed DNA from the bone of a teenage girl who lived in the Altai 50,000 years ago. The DNA revealed that she is the child of two different ancient peoples, a Neanderthal woman and a male Denisovvan. The researcher’s findings were published in the journal “Nature”.

The ancient human remains were discovered in the Denisova Cave six years ago. Researchers extracted DNA from a bone known as Denisova-11 that belonged to a 13-year-old girl. Analysis of the DNA of the remains has just been completed. Genetic analysis showed that the girl inherited 38.6 percent of her DNA and mitochondrial DNA from a Neanderthal, which means that her mother was Neanderthal. Her father was a Denisovan with 42.3 percent of her DNA.

In addition, the researchers were able to determine the origin of the parents of the Denisov girl. Her mother was genetically more similar to European Neanderthals, who lived in the territory of modern Croatia 30 thousand years ago, than to the Altai people. It is believed that her ancestors and Altaian Neanderthals were separated 140 thousand years ago, and from the European branch 100 thousand years ago. The father also had a Neanderthal ancestor who lived 300-600 generations before him.

The data confirmed the scientist’s theory that the Neanderthals communicated closely with the Denisovans and that they were capable of having joint offspring.