Dating human fossils

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The method, while promising, has not yet been perfected, which the authors acknowledge.Their study is, however, the first time it has been attempted on the Denisova Cave hominins.The a DNA studies from cave’s hominins, both Denisovan and Neanderthal, helped confirm that both populations have, at various times, interbred with and each other.In 2018, additional partial remains from the cave turned out to be from the first known Neanderthal-Denisovan hybrid individual.Some of the items, including tooth pendants and bone points, turned out to be the earliest such artifacts from northern Eurasia, produced between 43,000 and 49,000 years ago.

After 11,500 years ago (11.5 ka, beginning of the Holocene), all fossils shown are Homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans), illustrating recent divergence in the formation of modern human sub-populations.

The researchers also tested more than 2,000 bone fragments and found three with chemical signatures suggesting they were from hominins.

Additional analysis found one of the fragments contained mitochondrial DNA consistent with Neanderthals; of the other two fragments, one yielded no a DNA evidence and the other is still being tested.

(Sidenote: Most researchers consider all three groups — modern humans, Denisovans and Neanderthals — as separate species of human, though the definition of contributor Bridget Alex recently wrote an excellent primer on what makes a species.

It’s worth reading, especially before commenting on this latest research.) Unfortunately, full analysis of the fossils and artifacts found at the site has been problematic because precise dating is difficult to establish.

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