'Pit of Bones' Yields Oldest Human DNA —and a Mystery
Bones in Spain linked to distant Asian population
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2013 11:53 PM CST
Updated Dec 5, 2013 6:00 AM CST
To get to the Pit of Bones, researchers had to crawl through narrow cave tunnels for hundreds of yards and rope down in the dark.   (Madrid Scientific Films)

(Newser) – Technological breakthroughs have allowed scientists to sequence human DNA from an astonishing 400,000 years ago—but analysis of an ancient leg bone has raised more questions than answers, the BBC reports. Researchers were surprised to find that the early human whose remains were unearthed in Spain's "Pit of Bones" site had a much closer genetic link to an early species of human found thousands of miles away in Siberia's Denisova Cave than to the Neanderthals who inhabited the region until around 30,000 years ago. The Pit of Bones people are believed to have shared a common ancestor with the Denisovans around 700,000 years ago.

Scientists suspect mitochondrial DNA could have been passed down from a population related to both the Denisovans and the Neanderthals—or been introduced by interbreeding with another early species of human. More tests are expected to provide answers to piece together the puzzles of human evolution. "We need all the data we can get to build the whole story of human evolution," a researcher says. "We can't just build it from stone tools, we can't just build it from the fossils. Having the DNA gives us a whole new way of looking at it."

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
Dec 5, 2013 7:22 PM CST
Somebody call in 23andMe to verify this! Only they can be trusted... http://www.newser.com/story/178575/genetic-testing-kits-just-dont-cut-it.html
Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 5, 2013 12:03 PM CST
Another proof life did not start in Africa but more closer to the Biblical account of creation. The secular humanists want Africa to be the start and sorry looooosers.
Dec 5, 2013 8:50 AM CST
Another early victim of Obamacare death panels.