Scientists have discovered a fossilised leg bone from an early 400,000-year-old human in the ‘Pit of Bones’ site in Spain and the bone’s DNA opens a new mystery into our human ancestors.
Baffled scientists expected it to share the DNA of Neanderthals but it is closer to the Denisovans who lived in Siberia, thousands of kilometres away.
Juan Luis Arsuaga, co-director of the site explained to euronews: “This provides insight into how evolution happened to the Neanderthals, the evolution of our species, and the evolutionary relationships between species and lineages almost 1,000 million years ago.”
DNA tends to breaks down over time, but the leg bone has been well preserved in the Spanish ‘pit of bones’ because of the constant temperature.
Scientists are now rethinking human evolution. There may be other long-extinct human populations waiting to be discovered.