Link to recent re-analysis of DNA from hominid fossils found in Cameroon cave?

A new study was released in late January by the UCLA genetics lab suggesting modern humans in western Africa have far more archaic hominid DNA than previously believed.

As The Guardian explains, Feb. 12:

Unlike today, the world was once home to many related species or subspecies of human. And when they stumbled upon one another, mating was not out of the question. As a result, modern Europeans carry a smattering of Neanderthal genes, while indigenous Australians, Polynesians and Melanesians carry genes from Denisovans, another group of archaic humans.

Previous studies have hinted that other ancient humans once roamed Africa, but without any fossils or DNA to pore over, researchers have struggled to learn more about them.

According to the BBC, Feb. 14, three main groups in West Africa were studied.  They pulled DNA from 405 people from the Mende, Yoruba, and Esen people.

It suggests that ancestors of modern West Africans interbred with a yet-undiscovered species of archaic human, similar to how ancient Europeans mated with Neanderthals, and Oceanic populations with Denisovans.

Interbreeding with this ghost species, probably occurred 40,000 years ago, according to the UCLA researchers.

“Our findings are very exciting” — Sriram Sankararaman, Univ. of California computational biologist

From NPR interview, Feb. 12, computational biologist  Sriram Sankararaman,

[We pulled out] chunks of DNA, which we believe are likely to come from populations that are not modern human.

Of particular interest to readers of this website, there are indications this may be the same group discovered in Cameroon. Researchers re-analyzed DNA from fossils found in a cave in western Cameroon 30 years ago.

From Alternet.org, Feb. 12,

Early humans in Africa may have interbred with a mysterious, extinct species: study

A 2017 study of ancient DNA from southern Africa investigated 16 ancient genomes from people alive over the last 10,000 years.

It’s a result that was supported earlier this year by a paper examining ancient DNA from four individuals from what is now Cameroon. Taken together, this research suggests there were geographically diverse groups in Africa well before the main expansion out of the continent. And many of these groups will have contributed to the ancestry of people alive in Africa today.

As the UK Daily Mail reports, Feb. 11,

DNA reveals ancient Africans bred with new unknown race of humans just 50,000 years ago

It is not the first time ‘ghost DNA’ has been identified in the genes of Africans.

In January, DNA discovered in four skeletons that belonged to children buried at a rock shelter at an archaeological site called Shum Laka in Cameroon also point to the existence of a long-lost ‘ghost’ branch of the human family tree.

All four skeletons inherited about one-third of their DNA from ancestors similar to the hunter-gatherers of western Central Africa.

We reported on this new development, just last week here at Subspecieist.

Shock from Cameroon burial site: Rare Haplo-type Afros may be descended from another Hominid species

 

Eric

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FSU grad, US Navy Veteran. Houston, Texas

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