Paleogenetics discover an unknown population of ancient humans in Southeast Asia

As a result of studies of DNA extracted from the remains of a woman discovered in South Sulawesi, Indonesia in 2015, paleogeneticists established her belonging to a hitherto unknown population of ancient people. This is stated in an article published in the journal Nature.

The woman’s genome contains fewer genes from Denisovans than the modern Aborigines of Australia and the Papuans of New Guinea. Scientists concluded that a woman from South Sulawesi, who lived about 7.3-7.2 thousand years ago, could belong to a population that appeared on the island before the Australian aborigines and Papuans.

According to the materials of the latest genetic studies, the populations of Australia, Oceania and Southeast Asia were formed in the conditions of crossing of ancestors with Denisovans. Up to 7% of an admixture of Denisovans is contained in the genomes of the population of the islands of Southeast Asia. Filipino Negritos are in the lead: the admixture of Denisov’s people is 35-40% higher than the admixture of these genes in Papuans and Australian aborigines.

The genome of the South Sulawesi woman belongs to a population that has not been previously described in science. Scientists believed that she split from related lines almost simultaneously with the separation of the Australian Aborigines and the Papuans. A previously unknown population could have populated Sulawesi more than 50 thousand years ago.



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