Earlier this year, when I energetically swabbed the inside of my cheek for National Geographic’s Genographic Project, I had no idea that my DNA contained genes from two extinct hominids.
A budding citizen scientist, I donated my DNA to the greater cause, intent on contributing to the body of knowledge about my ancient human ancestors.
At the outset, I knew more than most people did about their family lineages. My father’s English Protestant roots extended back 15 generations, to 1670 in London and Massachusetts. And my mother’s roots, the Irish Roman Catholic side of the family, had been traced to 1780, the year her relatives arrived in Prince Edward Island.
My Anglo-Irish lineage had seemed unassailable—or that’s what I believed—before I received the genographic roadmap of my DNA.
Read the full, original story here: My Neanderthal and Denisovan Roots: The Day I Discovered My DNA Contains Traces of Two Extinct Hominid Cousins