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

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

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:  Are mental disorders linked to the tweaking of genes in human evolution?

“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

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend