Pacific Islanders appear to be carrying the DNA of an unknown human species
A third extinct human relative.
Hints of an unidentified, extinct human species have been found in the DNA of modern Melanesians - those living in a region of the South Pacific, northeast of Australia.
According to new genetic modelling, the species is unlikely to be Neanderthal or Denisovan - two ancient species that are represented in the fossil record - but could represent a third, unknown human relative that has so far eluded archaeologists.
“We’re missing a population, or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” Ryan Bohlender, a statistical geneticist from the University of Texas, told Tina Hesman Saey at Science News.
Bohlender and his team have been investigating the percentages of extinct hominid DNA that modern humans still carry today, and say they’ve found discrepancies in previous analyses that suggest our mingling with Neanderthals and Denisovans isn’t the whole story.