Indonesia is humanly connected with Siberia – Science – Kommersant

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A study of the remains of a young woman who died 7 thousand years ago shows that the mixing between the ancestors of modern humans, who lived in Indonesia, on the one hand, and in Siberia, on the other, began much earlier than paleontologists and anthropologists assumed. It will probably have to change the theories that have guided them until now, describing the migration of ancient Homo in Asia.

For a new look at human evolution, scientists should thank the young deceased, most likely a ritual victim, who found her last refuge in a cave in the southern part of Sumatra (Indonesia). The assumption about the ritual nature of the burial is based on the fact that many stones were found in the hands of the deceased and in her stomach (more precisely, among the bones of the palm and bones of the pelvis).

There is a possibility, according to the Indonesian scientists who examined the genetic material of the victim’s remains, that South Sumatra was the meeting place of two species of the genus Homo – Denisovan man and Homo sapiens.

The Denisov Man is named after the Denisova Cave in Siberia, where the remains were first discovered with genetic material belonging to the genus Homo (man), but not to the species Sapiens (intelligent). Since 2010, when the discovery took place, scientists have made little progress in knowledge of what the Denisovans were and what their distribution area was.

DNA taken from Besse – the so-called Indonesian cave deceased (in the local language it means “girl”), is very well preserved, and this is the rarest case for the tropics. So, this well-preserved DNA allows us to say that one part of Besse’s ancestors belongs to the Austronesians, whose descendants now inhabit Oceania and Southeast Asia, and the other to the Denisovans! Besse is morphologically and genetically close to the present-day Papuans and Australian aborigines.

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Besse’s DNA overturns ideas about the migration of modern human ancestors. Previously, scientists believed that the Denisovans (and other newcomers from North Asia) reached Southeast Asia no more than 3.5 thousand years ago. In fact, as is now clear, this happened much earlier. We have to build a new theory of migration, and at the same time think about the origin of the current Papuans and aborigines, since they also have Denisovan genes.

Leonty Krivov

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