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The Case of the Missing Human Ancestor (nationalgeographic.com)
79 points by darkchyld 1242 days ago | hide | past | web | 13 comments | favorite

Left-out of this article is that the Denisovans seem to be one of the ancestors of the Melanesian peoples living in and near Papua New Guinea: http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/neandertal_d....

More about the Melanesians: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanesians

He mentioned it briefly, along with Australian Aborigines as well as a population from the Philippines who displays a notable share of Denisovan DNA (around 2.5%, versus ~5% in the Melanesians).

I must have missed that. Thanks!

When articles like this talk about interbreeding, I can't help but wonder how that happened. At the time, were we close enough to them in appearance that it would have happened willingly, or are we talking about rape scenarios?

I don't think appearance has a lot to do about that...

If they looked really different, or were really different in some other way, than I could see them being ostracized. Of course, it is also possible that primitive man couldn't tell the difference between themselves and the others.

I hope for the day when a bone or whatever is found that contains something like 25-50% human and 25-50% Denisovan or Neanderthal... The frozen expanses of Siberia seem to be a good place to look for them...

I wonder when we'll be able to simulate an organism out of a given sequenced DNA. It may be a little too much to recreate a real living thing, but I think it would be OK to simulate.

Well, the DNA itself probably wouldn't be enough because it doesn't really encode an algorithm or recipe describing how a (multicellular in this context) living organism is constructed from it's genetic information. Instead, the DNA is more like a huge collection of building blocks. But how and what will be constructed from this pile (meaning what will be included in the final system and what won't) that's a completely different matter.

A few links for the interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developmental_biology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

That said, there has been quite an exciting paper published around a year ago describing the first simulation of one life cycle of an in silico Mycoplasma genitalium (the smallest known bacteria). Here's a link to relevant HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4272039

For simple organisms, we could probably consider what would happen if we put their DNA in the nucleas, letting it be transcribed by the 'standard' process. This is exactly what viruses do when they inject their DNA/RNA into a foreign cell so they will be cloned.

The article is inconsistent. There is one morphological clue from the Denisovans that could be used to match the Chinese skulls - the huge size of the tooth.

I hope it's the pig-chimp!


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