Bulgarian cave remains reveal surprises about earliest Homo sapiens in Europe

www.thehindu.com
3 min read
fairly difficult
The new study suggests interbreeding was more common than previously known for the first Homo sapiens in Europe.
(Subscribe to Science For All, our weekly newsletter, where we aim to take the jargon out of science and put the fun in. Click here.)

DNA extracted from remains found in a Bulgarian cave of three people who lived roughly 45,000 years ago is revealing surprises about some of the first Homo sapiens populations to venture into Europe, including extensive interbreeding with Neanderthals and genetic links to present-day East Asians.

Scientists said on Wednesday they sequenced the genomes of these three individuals — all males — using DNA obtained from a molar and bone fragments discovered in Bacho Kiro Cave near the town of Dryanovo, as well as one female who lived roughly 35,000 years ago at the same site.

Also read: DNA reveals first inter-species child

Our species first appeared in Africa approximately 300,000 years ago and later trekked to other parts of the world, sometimes encountering Neanderthals — our close cousins — already inhabiting parts of Eurasia. The three Bacho Kiro Cave males represent the oldest securely dated Homo sapiens individuals from Europe.

They had 3% to 3.8% Neanderthal DNA, and had Neanderthal ancestors about five to seven generations back in their family histories, evidence of interbreeding, said geneticist Mateja Hajdinjak of the Francis Crick Institute in London, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature.

Also Read Gene study rewrites Neanderthal history

Interbreeding, known as admixture, between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals before the extinction of Neanderthals sometime…
Reuters
Read full article