From hominids to animals: Who lived in Siberia’s famous Denisova Cave?

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Denisova cave. Image: Sergey Zelinski/Russian Academy of Sciences

For thousands of years, Siberia’s Denisova Cave was home to various bands of Neanderthals, Denisovans, and modern humans. But as new research shows, animals occupied this cave more frequently than not, showcasing the pains, perils, and complexities of paleolithic life.

“Basically, the story that we are telling is full of shit,” said Mike Morley, an archaeologist at Flinders University and the lead author of the new study, in an email to Gizmodo.

Well, to be fair to Morley and his colleagues, their story is also full of charcoal fragments, ash, bits of bone, and flakes from stone tools.

Related article:  What caused anatomically modern Homo sapiens to evolve into behaviorally modern people?

By performing a micromorphological analysis of all the stuff embedded within this dirt—both geological and biological—the researchers were able to reconstruct a history of habitation in the cave over the course of 300,000 years.

Morley said there’s “no doubt” competition existed for this precious space. The copious amounts of poop from “cave-dwelling carnivores is ubiquitous and suggests that the site often served as a den for hyenas and, to a lesser extent, for wolves,” the study authors wrote.

Read full, original post: Archaeologists Are Learning More About Who and What Lived in This Famous Siberian Cave

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