Becky Miller sampling sediment for genetic analyses at the archaeological site of
Trou Al'Wesse, Belgium
CREDIT: MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR EVOLUTIONARY ANTHROPOLOGY VIA AFP
International scientists have uncovered prehistoric human DNA of two extinct human relatives - the Neanderthals, and the Denisovans- from caves without bones, an advance that could shed new light on human history and evolution.
The technique could be valuable for reconstructing human evolutionary history, according to the study published on Thursday in the journal Science.
That's because fossilised bones, currently the main source of ancient DNA, are scarce even at sites where circumstantial evidence points to a prehistoric human presence.
"There are many caves where stone tools are found but no bones," said Matthias Meyer, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who co-authored the study.
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