Oldest DNA ever found sheds light on humans' global trek

October 22, 2014 by Richard Ingham
The Ust'-Ishim femur. Credit: Bence Viola, MPI EVA

Scientists said Wednesday they had unravelled the oldest DNA ever retrieved from a Homo sapiens bone, a feat that sheds light on modern humans' colonisation of the planet.

A femur found by chance on the banks of a west Siberian river in 2008 is that of a man who died around 45,000 years ago, they said.

Teased out of collagen in the ancient bone, the genome contains traces from Neanderthals—a cousin species who lived in Eurasia alongside H. sapiens before mysteriously disappearing.

Previous research has found that Neanderthals and H. sapiens interbred, leaving a tiny Neanderthal imprint of just about two percent in humans today, except for Africans.

The discovery has a bearing on the so-called "Out of Africa" scenario: the theory that H. sapiens evolved in East Africa around 200,000 years ago and then ventured out of the continent.

Dating when Neanderthals and H. sapiens interbred would also indicate when H. sapiens embarked on a key phase of this trek—the push out of Eurasia and into South and later Southeast Asia.

The new study, published in the journal Nature, was headed by Svante Paabo, a renowned geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who has pioneered research into Neanderthals.

Neanderthal interbreeding

The bone found at the Irtyush River, near the settlement of Ust'-Ishim, carries slightly more Neanderthal DNA than non-Africans today, the team found.

But it takes the form of relatively long strips, whereas Neanderthal DNA in our genome today has been cut up and dispersed in tiny sections as a result of generations of reproduction.

Svante Pääbo and Nikolay Peristov discuss the Ust'-Ishim discovery. Credit: Bence Viola, MPI EVA

These differences provide a clue for a "molecular calendar", or dating DNA according to mutations over thousands of years.

Using this method, Paabo's team estimate interbreeding between Neanderthals and H. sapiens occurred 7,000 to 13,000 years before the Siberian individual lived—thus no more than 60,000 years ago.

This provides a rough date for estimating when H. sapiens headed into South Asia, Chris Stringer, a professor at Britain's Natural History Museum, said in a comment on the study.

If today's Australasians have Neanderthal DNA, it is because their forebears crossed through Neanderthal territory and mingled with the locals.

"The ancestors of Australasians, with their similar input of Neanderthal DNA to Eurasians, must have been part of a late, rather than early, dispersal through Neanderthal territory," Stringer said in a press release.

"While it is still possible that did traverse southern Asia before 60,000 years ago, those groups could not have made a significant contribution to the surviving modern populations outside of Africa, which contain evidence of interbreeding with Neanderthals."

Anthropologists suggest a northern branch of Eurasians crossed to modern-day Alaska more than 15,000 years ago via an "ice bridge" that connected islands in the Bering Strait, thus enabling H. sapiens to colonise the Americas.

Explore further: Genetic testing shows Neanderthals less diverse than modern humans

More information: Nature, dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13810

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saccoflame
2.2 / 5 (10) Oct 22, 2014
This was one of the worst article I have ever read. When I was young articles had a straightforward title then the facts were set out clearly at the beginning of an article in a logical manner and there there was a discussion of the background about the facts and how they fit into a large picture. Now it is there is a title that promises startling new information then a discussion larger picture intermixed with the background of the story and the facts hidden like Easter Eggs throughout the article. In this case the eggs were either not there or I couldn't find them. Bad stories like thing contribute to kook science.
JVK
1 / 5 (12) Oct 23, 2014
MicroRNA-Driven Developmental Remodeling in the Brain Distinguishes Humans from Other Primates http://dx.doi.org....1001214

It is one of the works co-authored by Paabo that links Dobzhansky (1973) to what is currently known about cell type differentiation in species from microbes to man. Simply put, cell type differentiation is RNA-mediated and it is clearly linked via amino acid substitutions to the morphological and behavioral diversity of species from microbes to man.

Dobzhansky (1973) "...the so-called alpha chains of hemoglobin have identical sequences of amino acids in man and the chimpanzee, but they differ in a single amino acid (out of 141) in the gorilla."

Focus on DNA from old bones has no explanatory power whatsoever when it comes to understanding biodiversity. It is a diversionary tactic that some researchers still use to get funding for story-telling.
Bob Osaka
1 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2014
The residual Neanderthal DNA actually explains much about the occasional savage barbaric nature of modern humans. Those who prefer the use of language and reason clubbed over the head by authorized agents of violence. Clubbing for peace, killing for God, imprisoning for freedom, hoarding for prosperity all make sense..to Neanderthals.
Curious about social class/caste systems and the correlation of dominate and recessive sources of DNA. The question: Are you human? (becomes) How much human are you?
richard_f_cronin
3 / 5 (5) Oct 23, 2014
If the humanoid species is a favored line of evolution ( human adaptability, tool-making skills, social organization, manual dexterity), is it a great reach to think that humans could spring from more than one location on this planet, yet with enough similarity to cross-breed ? Hypothesis: The Denisovians and genetically related humanoid branches ( Tibetan and Neanderthal) originated in Northern Canada and migrated to Siberia and Europe, but were confined from southerly migration due to the Himalayas. This group led to the Euro-Asian Caucasian race, as well as Native Americans. The Australo-Oriental race began in Australia (aborigines) and migrated into southern Asia. The Negro race began in Africa, but probably migrated very little. Why leave the "Garden of Eden" to cross the Negev Desert ? Perhaps some hapless African fishermen on the Red Sea were caught in high winds and blown across the Red Sea to the Arabian peninsula, i.e. unwillingly thrown out of the Garden.
JVK
1.3 / 5 (13) Oct 23, 2014
Nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions stabilize the organized genomes of species from microbes to man via RNA-directed DNA methylation and RNA-mediated events (e.g., chromosomal rearrangements). Continuing to suggest behavior is based on what is known about genetic differences and their manifestations in morphological phenotypes is as foolish as belief that mutations and natural selection somehow led to the evolution of behavioral phenotypes.

If evolutionary theorists and evolutionary theists look only at what is currently known about the honeybee model organism and the human Val158Met variant, minimal intelligence would allow them to make cross species comparisons via single base pair changes that link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA via amino acid substitutions in all cells of all individuals of all species.

Unfortunately, that minimal intelligence is not a characteristic shared among theorists and evolutionary theists.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (16) Oct 23, 2014
Interesting. And hilarious that the pheromone troll derives anti-science out fo a clear sceince success!

@@saccoflame: This was a press release, not a popular science article as such. The new contributions will be scattered as contrast to earlier successes, take while to be accepted and further time to be adopted in all their consequences. Welcome to science as it is made, often a confusing business!

By the way, this process is exactly the opposite to kook 'science', where everything is neat and dogmatic. (See our pheromone troll example in this very thread.)

@Bob: This doesn't show anything on behavior. Neanderthals were much as socialized as we were, caring for young, elders and hurt, there are firm evidences on that. And humans do not differ from other apes, our current homicide numbers are comparable to chimps and their incessant chimp wars.
JVK
1.2 / 5 (12) Oct 23, 2014
Re:
neat and dogmatic


The 'pheromone troll' has a history of published works that begin in 1995 and detail all aspects of cell type differentiation in all cells of all individuals of all species via nutrient-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation and RNA-mediated events that link conserved molecular mechanisms I exemplified in cross species comparisons in my most recent review.

Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.
http://www.ncbi.n...24693353

I wonder what it is about the amino acid substitutions that differentiate cell types that anyone else with any intelligence whatsoever would argue against. Perhaps that's why there is no argument. Just the accusation that I am the troll here. Discussion would obviously reveal who is the troll, especially if it included discussion of my published works.

That's what hilarious; a troll with minimal intelligence declaring that someone else is a troll.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (7) Oct 23, 2014
Re:
neat and dogmatic


The 'pheromone troll' has a history of published works that begin in 1995 and detail all aspects of cell type differentiation in all cells of all individuals of all species via nutrient-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation and RNA-mediated events that link conserved molecular mechanisms I exemplified in cross species comparisons in my most recent review.

I wonder what it is about the amino acid substitutions that differentiate cell types that anyone else with any intelligence whatsoever would argue against. Perhaps that's why there is no argument. Just the accusation that I am the troll here. Discussion would obviously reveal who is the troll, especially if it included discussion of my published works.

That's what hilarious; a troll with minimal intelligence declaring that someone else is a troll.


So why do you continue doing it?
JVK
1.4 / 5 (10) Oct 23, 2014
Thanks for asking. I comment here because this is where the ignorance is. Trolls comment here for the same reason, which is why I sometimes cite one or more of my published works, or the works published by others.

http://www.ncbi.n...24693353 Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.
Vietvet
5 / 5 (7) Oct 23, 2014
jvk posts here in hopes in selling his stink juice.
JVK
1 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2014
http://info2.ther...s_102314

Over 150 Years of Progress in Molecular Biology

Throughout history, certain essential traits have driven scientific discovery. Curiosity, persistence, focus and attention to detail have been common attributes for scientists who have come before us.

Explore our timeline of important molecular biology discoveries through the centuries.

We would like to hear what you think might be the next big discovery or invention in molecular biology.


I want to hear what discovery might make the anonymous fools here seem to be anything more than the idiot minions of biology teachers like PZ Myers.
NOM
5 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2014
Kohl, I finally decided to look up PZ Myers, to see why you have such a crush on him.

Myers is educated, intelligent, articulate, rational, successful and respected. All the things that you, Kohl, are lacking. I can now see why you are so jealous of him

He must make you feel so very inadequate. So much so that,rather than humiliate yourself further trying to compete, you come to websites like physorg andtry and badmouth him. Yet you fail even in this.
Even the other idiot pseudoscience trolls that abound at physorg think you are a loser. I suppose that's an achievement of sorts, setting a new low in the level of troll idiot.
OZGuy
5 / 5 (7) Oct 23, 2014
@NOM
You might be interested in the link that EnricM posted on an earlier article:

http://www.ncbi.n...4049134/
Uncle Ira
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2014
which is why I sometimes cite one or more of my published works, or the works published by others.


You just told the GREAT BIG LIE Skippy. Saying "sometimes" is the lie, what you meant to say is "every time". Name one article you did not try to push those stinky love potions on in the comment sections. Saying "one or more" is is the lie too, you never miss a chance to cite them 12 or 10 times the same ones in thread if it goes for a few days.

I'll give you a pass on the "or the works of others". Why would ol Ira be so nice to let that go? Well, because most of the all time, when you cite stuffs to prove what you are saying, most times the people you are citing disagrees with you and you are to silly to realize it.
Uncle Ira
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2014
jvk posts here in hopes in selling his stink juice.


Well he better watch out for the FD&A and the DE&A. And I suspect the local police won't care much for it either.
JVK
1 / 5 (9) Oct 23, 2014
We've been through this before:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I followed up on a link to the "rule of 48" and picture of Little PZ Myers, who is the biology teacher most responsible for teaching the idiot minions and anonymous fools here to value theory rather than biological facts.

See: See: http://phys.org/n...ier.html

That's the problem with anonymous fools and idiot minions. They never become anything more than what they've always been -- same with PZ Myers, who is the most scientifically illiterate biology teacher I have ever encountered.
NOM
5 / 5 (7) Oct 23, 2014
same with PZ Myers, who is the most scientifically illiterate biology teacher I have ever encountered.
It is very clear that you have encountered very few biology teachers.
anonymous_9001
5 / 5 (5) Oct 24, 2014
I have a question, James. Say a cell recognizes a base that needs to be changed. We've established you believe they occur through methylation and deamination. Does that process apply to all base substitutions, like A to T, A to G, etc.?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Oct 25, 2014
The 'pheromone troll' has a history of published works that begin in 1995 and detail all aspects of cell type differentiation in all cells of all individuals of all species via nutrient-dependent RNA-directed DNA methylation and RNA-mediated events that link conserved molecular mechanisms I exemplified in cross species comparisons in my most recent review.
regardless of any historical published works... the troll pheromone stinky juice perfumer is selling a creationist belief that is trying to alter the lexicon through stupidity (not very mensa, troll boy)
no matter what jk says, his model SUPPORTS EVOLUTION AND MUTATION BY DEMONSTRATING MUTATION
DOES your model make any changes to the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal genetic element?
This is a yes or no answer
(this is the DEFINITION of mutation) to which you answered
YES!
--Thanks for asking
jk fails at literacy
NOM
5 / 5 (5) Oct 25, 2014
Kohl's published works are rather garbled. He likes to use jargon to make himself sound good, but it only makes him out to be the idiot troll that he is.

Myers however, is far more astute. Hell, he's even better looking than Kohl.

If Kohl was half as successful as he thinks he is, he wouldn't need to post his drivel on sites like physorg. He is just a phony. Just as bad as the recently (re)evicted conman Neil Farbstein, though hopefully Kohl isn't a paedophile like Farbstein proved to be.
texag73
not rated yet Nov 17, 2014
Interesting group of articles regarding ancient DNA. I am curious if any research has been done regarding some of the 'lost' tribes most recently discovered in South America. Testing the DNA of some of these genealogical lines may lead to better understanding of the timelines for the great migration from Asia to the Americas (as well as determine if these 'lost' tribes have truly been lost).

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