Recently, a 160,000-year-old tooth considered to have belonged to an ancient humans species has been brought to light in China. A study has been made in order to determine its connection with archaic and modern humans. Published in the scientific journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, the research presents proof that ancient humans and modern humans, also known as Homo sapiens, have interbred.
Before the discovery, it was believed that modern humans from Asia evolved after one of the expansions out of Africa of Homo sapiens. But the lower molar says otherwise. An important aspect of the molar is that it has three roots, which is quite an uncommon characteristic among modern Asians.
Professor Shara Bailey, one of the authors of the study, makes clear the fact that this characteristic indicates “both that it is older than previously understood and that some modern Asian groups obtained the trait through interbreeding with a sister group of Neanderthals, the Denisovans.”
A 160,000-Year-Old Tooth Revealed That Ancient Humans Interbred With Homo Sapiens In Asia
The Denisovans were a species of archaic humans, different from the Neanderthals and modern humans. It has been shown that Denisovans and Neanderthals had the same origin as they evolved from another archaic human species, Homo heidelbergensis, and both lived in the area between Siberia and Southeast Asia.
The Densivonians mixed with Neanderthals and modern humans. It has been established by anthropologists that the Denisovans had inhabited the Tibetan Plateau before Homo sapiens. Researchers set their sights on grasping the connection between Asian archaic humans and modern Asians.
It was long believed in Asia that there has been a continuance from the ancient humans to modern humans, Homo sapiens, but there wasn’t any evidence to sustain that, despite the characteristics they both shared. And with the help of the archaic molar they found the missing piece. As molars with three roots are common to Asians, the fact that it had been also found in archaic humans can only man that Asian Homo sapiens and ancient humans interbred.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.