Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans

Jan 21, 2013
The leg of the early modern human from Tianyuan Cave was used for the genetic analysis as well as for carbon dating. Credit: MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology

An international team of researchers including Svante Pääbo and Qiaomei Fu of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that had been extracted from the leg of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China. Analyses of this individual's DNA showed that the Tianyuan human shared a common origin with the ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans. In addition, the researchers found that the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan-DNA in this early modern human is not higher than in people living in this region nowadays.

Humans with morphology similar to present-day humans appear in the fossil record across Eurasia between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. The between these early modern humans and present-day had not yet been established. Qiaomei Fu, Matthias Meyer and colleagues of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, extracted nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a 40,000 year old found in 2003 at the Tianyuan Cave site located outside Beijing. For their study the researchers were using new techniques that can identify ancient genetic material from an archaeological find even when large quantities of DNA from are present.

The researchers then reconstructed a genetic profile of the leg's owner. "This individual lived during an important evolutionary transition when early modern humans, who shared certain features with earlier forms such as Neanderthals, were replacing Neanderthals and Denisovans, who later became extinct", says Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who led the study.

Researchers carrying out excavation works at the Tianyuan Cave from which the leg bones had been excavated in 2003. Credit: Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Beijing

The reveals that this early modern human was related to the ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans but had already diverged genetically from the ancestors of present-day Europeans. In addition, the Tianyuan individual did not carry a larger proportion of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA than present-day people in the region. "More analyses of additional early modern humans across Eurasia will further refine our understanding of when and how modern humans spread across Europe and Asia", says Svante Pääbo.

Parts of the work were carried out in a new laboratory jointly run by the Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

Explore further: Researchers create methylation maps of Neanderthals and Denisovans, compare them to modern humans

More information: Qiaomei Fu, Matthias Meyer, Xing Gao, Udo Stenzel, Hernán A. Burbano, Janet Kelso, Svante Pääbo, DNA analysis of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave, China, PNAS, Online Early Edition, January 21, 2013.

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User comments : 21

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Dummy
2.2 / 5 (10) Jan 21, 2013
I wonder who the Asians killed off when they invaded America...
Jonseer
3 / 5 (6) Jan 21, 2013
I wonder who the Asians killed off when they invaded America...


Nobody, the continents were uninhabited based on the total lack of archeological remains of any kind from this era.

It's still maintained by many anthropologists that they were uninhabited up until 20,000 years ago, a good 30,000 years after the people this article is about.
Whydening Gyre
2.5 / 5 (8) Jan 21, 2013
An article on AL Goodyear's research puts humans in North America around 50000 years ago.
www.sciencedaily....4010.htm

Any speculations on who they were or where they were from? Any other sources that might assist with this?
Anda
3 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2013
Speculations? No. Native americans came from Asia.
Birger
3 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2013
Dummy, when the American "Kennewick man" fossil was examined, it was at first believed this human had morphological traits similar to a caucasian. Later, it was discovered that it was closer to the Ainu people living in northern Japan.
So even though Kennewick man and his group came to America in a separate migration (a bit later than the Indians), they all originated in Asia.
I mention this because some white supremacist nuts used Kennewick man to claim white people were present in America before the indians. This claim is now debunked.
As for claims that humans arrived to America significantly earlier than the paleoindians, let's just say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (15) Jan 22, 2013
If there were people around 50,000 years ago, why do we only have about 7 billion now?

Even if one allows for very short lifespans due to supposedly worse medical knowledge and tools, tied to a ridiculously low birth rate, there should be at least 14 billion people on earth now.

But there isn't.

So where are all the descendants or else the graveyards?

One explanation could be that maybe people only appeared around 6000 years ago, not 50 000 years ago?

sennekuyl
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 22, 2013
Could you show some maths please kevintrs?
Eric_B
5 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2013
Could you show some maths please kevintrs?

well, gee, some of us haven't heard of WW1 and WW2 yet so give us a break!
Sonhouse
5 / 5 (10) Jan 22, 2013
If there were people around 50,000 years ago, why do we only have about 7 billion now?

Even if one allows for very short lifespans due to supposedly worse medical knowledge and tools, tied to a ridiculously low birth rate, there should be at least 14 billion people on earth now.

But there isn't.

So where are all the descendants or else the graveyards?

One explanation could be that maybe people only appeared around 6000 years ago, not 50 000 years ago?


Just using your own math, it would appear modern humans arrived 25,000 years ago to account for your 7 billion population number not 6000. If they only arrived 6000 years ago, the population should be only 2 billion or so using your own logic. Sorry, creationism loses again. And again. And again.
foetusburger
5 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2013
kevintrs - you underestimate the devastation that war and disease wreaked on the human population until modern medicine allowed us to ensure not only a better infant mortality rate, but also longevity of life (and thus an aging population).

just one example - during mongol reign the population of China halved due to both war and plague. China is the largest population demographic in the world - don't forget the 500million chinese ex pats. the population of China dropped from 120 million to 60 million in 100 years.

making the assumption that population growth over the last several thousand years has been at an exponential rate as it has been in recent history is flat out unfounded and incorrect.
foetusburger
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2013
kevintrs - you underestimate the devastation that war and disease wreaked on the human population until modern medicine allowed us to ensure not only a better infant mortality rate, but also longevity of life (and thus an aging population).

just one example - during mongol reign the population of China halved due to both war and plague.

making the assumption that population growth over the last several thousand years has been at an exponential rate as it has been in recent history is flat out unfounded and incorrect. just check out the figures in the 3rd table for estimates of word population over the last 10000 years: (argh - can't post links here... just google 'world population' and hit up the wikipedia article then click on 'population growth by region')
Guy_Underbridge
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2013
there should be at least 14 billion people on earth now...


They're here, just hiding from you.
sennekuyl
1 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2013
Could you show some maths please kevintrs?

well, gee, some of us haven't heard of WW1 and WW2 yet so give us a break!

I was trying to be accommodating... I find no reason to assume others assumptions.
philw1776
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 22, 2013
I suggest that the Beijing DNA can be further verified by a double blind test of Native Americans to test their predilection for Chinese food compared to European descent Americans.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2013
Bookmarked.

Creationists shouldn't comment on science, it is hilarious and makes deconverts from religion, see Dawkins's Convert's Corner.

Especially not YEC crackpots, rejected by anyone assessing readily observed sedimentation times in nature resulting in gradualism and a minimum Earth age of 100s of millions of years.

It is funny, you know that when someone has replaced his (because they never allow "hers") brain with moldy myths and secular moral with religious lying and trolling for their gods, it is always the most seriously afflicted. In islamism, it is jihadists. In jewism, it is haredists. And in christianism, it is YECists. Each terrorising secular society in their own fashion.
aroc91
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2013
If there were people around 50,000 years ago, why do we only have about 7 billion now?

Even if one allows for very short lifespans due to supposedly worse medical knowledge and tools, tied to a ridiculously low birth rate, there should be at least 14 billion people on earth now.

But there isn't.

So where are all the descendants or else the graveyards?

One explanation could be that maybe people only appeared around 6000 years ago, not 50 000 years ago?



Do your job, moderators.
Whydening Gyre
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2013
Creationists are a product of resistance to change - the more you try to change them, the harder they resist.
PropagandaDetector
1 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2013
Creationists are a product of resistance to change - the more you try to change them, the harder they resist.

Pharma marketers and Atheist always pretend to know about something they didn't create. One does it for money the other has self-esteem issues.
Mike_Massen
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2013
kevinrtrs rumbled through lack of knowledge in so many many ways
If there were people around 50,000 years ago, why do we only have about 7 billion now?
Notice we have had high increase in population since antibiotics have come on the scene and that one major killer smallpox has been eradicated and hygiene has result in less cholera, plague and a host of other bacterial infections...

How is it your deity kevinrtrs, didnt educate people about the plague and especially malaria which has killed about half the human population since time immemorial. Of the some 100 billion people born since some distant time, 50% have died due solely to malaria, the others from so many other killers such as bird flu in 1918, killed some 50-100 million, add to that smallpox, some 200 million in the 20th century and all the others, diet, virui, low lifespan meaning lower procreation etc etc etc

kevinrtrs wakeup, do the math, did you ever get any high school education - please advise ?

Mike_Massen
3 / 5 (2) Jan 27, 2013
philw1776 offered
I suggest that the Beijing DNA can be further verified by a double blind test of Native Americans to test their predilection for Chinese food compared to European descent Americans.
Would this raise all sorts of cultural issues and habituation and issues of early exposure to influence acclimatisation etc, Not a simple test by any means besides what is meant by chinese food in one part of China isnt the same in all parts, many oddities, eg Monkey Brains ?

katesisco
1 / 5 (2) Feb 05, 2013
50,000 seems to be the usable limit of carbon dating; science now admits to global polarity reversal 41,000 ya. Neanders now claimed to end 40,000 ya. Massive volcano explosion in Italy 38,000 ya decimated Europe and Asia.
Discovery of 3 human types, mongoloid, negroid, and european all in China cave --science is drawing nearer to seeing the ancient world fully populated prior to a 'sun event' of apporox 50,000 ya. Toba 70,000 ya is before carbon data is useful perhaps involved in reshaping human history.

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