Just out | Close relative of Neandertals unearthed in China @ Science

Just out @ Science


Close relative of Neandertals unearthed in China


Ann Gibbons


Ever since their discovery in 2010, the extinct ice age humans called Denisovans have been known only from bits of DNA, taken from a sliver of bone in the Denisova Cave in Siberia, Russia. Now, two partial skulls from eastern China are emerging as prime candidates for showing what these shadowy people may have looked like. In a paper published on p. 969 of this issue, a Chinese-U.S. team presents 105,000- to 125,000-year-old fossils they call “archaic Homo.” They note that the bones could be a new type of human or an eastern variant of Neandertals. But although the team avoids the word, others wonder whether they are Denisovans, which are close cousins of Neandertals.



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