Melanesians carry genetic clues to hominid not revealed by fossils
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VANCOUVER — Traces of long-lost human cousins may be hiding in modern people’s DNA, a new computer analysis suggests.
People from Melanesia, a region in the South Pacific encompassing Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands, may carry genetic evidence of a previously unknown extinct hominid species, Ryan Bohlender reported October 20 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics. That species is probably not Neandertal or Denisovan, but a different, related hominid group, said Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “We’re missing a population or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” he said.
This mysterious relative was probably from a third branch of the hominid family tree that produced Neandertals and Denisovans,