DNA from 37,000-year-old human hints at early European history

Kostenki skeleton

DNA from a 37,000-year-old skeleton found at the Kostenki archaeological site in Russia supports recents findings and offers new ones about the history of human evolution.

Peter the Great Museum

DNA from a roughly 37,000-year-old Homo sapiens skeleton supports recent findings about when ancient humans and Neandertals interbred and other details about human evolution. In October, scientists reported on ancient DNA that suggested Neandertals and Homo sapiens hooked up between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. The analysis of the slightly younger human bone, found in Russia, narrows that range to approximately 54,000 years ago, researchers report November 7 in Science. The individual’s and his relatives’ genomes may have also been influenced by an even more ancient line of Eurasians that provided the foundation for the genomes of modern Europeans, the scientists suggest.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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