We haven’t found a Denisovan skull yet. But thanks to genetic analysis, we can predict what their faces looked like

| | September 30, 2019
unnamed file
This image shows a preliminary portrait of a juvenile female Denisovan based on a skeletal profile reconstructed from ancient DNA. Image: Maayan Harel
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A pinky finger bone, some teeth, and a lower jaw. That’s all the physical evidence we have of the mysterious Denisovans, an extinct group of hominins closely related to the Neanderthals. Remarkable new research offers a physical reconstruction of the Denisovans based on genetic evidence, providing our first potential glimpse of this ancient human species.

paper published [September 19] in Cell has accomplished the seemingly impossible: a reconstruction of Denisovan anatomy using genetic information. The new work, co-authored by archaeogeneticists Liran Carmel and David Gokhman from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggests the Denisovans possessed several distinguishing physical characteristics that set them apart from both Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, including a broad, projecting face, an exceptionally weak chin, and wide hips.

Related article:  Defining life: If it's created in a lab, is it really alive?

“The paper by Gokhman and colleagues is a pioneering piece of research, which at first glance seems almost like science fiction,” Chris Stringer, a physical anthropologist from the Natural History Museum in London who wasn’t involved with the new research, wrote in an email to Gizmodo. “This is exciting work, pushing the boundaries of what Facial Reconstruction Shows What the Enigmatic Denisovans Might Have Looked Like can be gleaned from ancient genomes.”

Read full, original post: Facial Reconstruction Shows What the Enigmatic Denisovans Might Have Looked Like

Advertisements
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend