Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Data Further Complicates Human Origins

Mitochondrial (mtRNA) testing of 17 individuals from the Sima de los Huesos, or “Bone Pit” archaeological site has further complicated the current understanding of human evolution. Previously, the site in Burgos, Spain has yielded 6,500 pieces of human skeletons, representing at least 28 individuals. These were classified as Homo heidelbergensis, the name given to the first humans who lived in Europe starting about 600,000 years ago. However, mitochondrial DNA testing found that these individuals had more similarities with another group of proto-humans, the Denisovans. The Denisovans and heidelbergensis were thought to have evolved distinct mtDNA prior to migration. Thus finding Denisovan mtRNA in Spain is contradictory, as they were only found in Asia. In the words of the article, these new findings only prove that "building a coherent story out of [human evolution] is a long-winded business.”

No comments:

Post a Comment