Discovering the world's first ancient human hybrid

Discovering the daughter of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan; the world's first ancient human hybrid

A paper published yesterday in Nature 'The genome of the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father'  presents the extraordinary findings of the genetic analysis of a 2.5cm long bone fragment discovered by Samantha Brown whilst she was studying for her MSc Archaeological Science here at the School. 

Prof Tom Higham asked Samantha if she would be interested in taking on a project to look for hominin remains from the 2000+ of bone fragments excavated from Denisova Cave in the Siberian Altai. This site is already remarkable for its preservation of Neanderthal and Denisovan remains but what Sam was to discover, using a technique called ZooMS, is changing how we think about ancient human species and how they mingled and interbred. 

Read here how Samantha and members of the Palaeochron team discovered this extraordianary bone and the techniques used to find it. 

Read the paper here

Read more in the press:


Ecology and Evolution

NY Times

The Atlantic