An international team of researchers including Svante Pääbo and Qiaomei Fu of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that had been extracted from the leg of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China. Analyses of this individual’s DNA showed that the Tianyuan human shared a common origin with the ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans. In addition, the researchers found that the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan-DNA in this early modern human is not higher than in people living in this region nowadays.

Humans with morphology similar to present-day humans appear in the fossil record across Eurasia between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. The genetic relationships between these early modern humans and present-day human populations had not yet been established. Qiaomei Fu, Matthias Meyer and colleagues of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, extracted nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a 40,000 year old leg bone found in 2003 at the Tianyuan Cave site located outside Beijing. For their study the researchers were using new techniques that can identify ancient genetic material from an archaeological find even when large quantities of DNA from soil bacteria are present.

The researchers then reconstructed a genetic profile of the leg’s owner. “This individual lived during an important evolutionary transition when early modern humans, who shared certain features with earlier forms such as Neanderthals, were replacing Neanderthals and Denisovans, who later became extinct”, says Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who led the study.

The genetic profile reveals that this early modern human was related to the ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans but had already diverged genetically from the ancestors of present-day Europeans. In addition, the Tianyuan individual did not carry a larger proportion of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA than present-day people in the region. “More analyses of additional early modern humans across Eurasia will further refine our understanding of when and how modern humans spread across Europe and Asia”, says Svante Pääbo.

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  • The__Bobster

    This just confirms the information I learned in the past, that Asians branched off the trunk of the human tree rather early.

    • Triarius

      Yep, and I heard blacks branched off (probably ejected out of) white areas up to 200,000 years ago. Any suggestions for favorite articles you could recomend online? Would like to know more for future debates.

      • Robert

        Nope. Blacks were the first race on the Earth.

        • Sherman_McCoy

          And the least evolved.

        • HamletsGhost

          The first and the worst.

        • Triarius

          I wasn’t asking about who was here first, and how would you know that? I was asking how long ago we split.

          And regardless of who was here longest, by your logic we are different species since blacks were here BEFORE whites existed.

      • pcmustgo

        I wonder if they’ve found African looking (or albino blacks) people in Europe… kinky haired black-skinned africans that crossed the middle east… Have they?

        • pcmustgo

          I mean, bones, fossils of them.

        • MarcusTrajanus

          Sadly things like skin and hair don’t last very long, so it’s hard to know about the skin colour and hair texture of early Europeans.

  • David Ashton

    What do our posters who believe in a Universal Deluge and Noah’s Ark think about this?

    • enoch3

      divergence and dispersin came after the flood; reduce the incorrect numbers, “40,000 year old leg bone” and the rest is, I guess, fine..

      • David Ashton

        It’s basically (but not only) the dating that puzzles me. Biblical chronology makes Noah’s flood far too recent. Even on the incredible “all present-day humans from Noah’s little family” hypothesis there would still have to have been evolutionary divergence, though rapidly accelerated in time for there to be racial portraits in ancient Egypt, &c.

    • Luis

      I have a sister who believes humans came from Adam and Eve. She also believed- when she was grade-school age-that people made babies merely by kissing. Then she realized that line of thinking was flawed, because movie starlets would be pregnant all the time.

    • dhs

      A Christian told me that he believed that God created the universe and all that dwell therein. That is the vital message in the Bible. The details reflect beliefs when the Bible was written.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        Maybe it happened that way. Before Planck Time, science breaks down. God said “Let There Be Light”, and there was. Rest assured, however, what God wants, God gets; God help us all. “God wants peace, God wants war. God wants famine, God wants chain-stores. What God wants, God gets.”

      • David Ashton

        That makes more sense than God walking in the Garden of Eden, etc.

  • falsedawn

    I used to be said there was a landbridge between Siberia and Alaska and those people we know of as American Indians came across and filtered all the way down to Tearra Del Fuego over many centuries.

  • Dude

    The OOA theory is wrong, as the evidence clearly shows. It’s just the preferred theory for political correctness.

    • David Ashton

      Rushton used it.
      The PC use – “we all have negro ancestors” – comes a cropper anyway with the retort that “we all had ape-like ancestors, but our lot evolved more than those left in Africa”.

      • HamletsGhost

        We all had fish ancestors too. Does that give mackerel the right to vote?

        • josh

          Or to date white women?

      • JohnEngelman

        According to the Out of Africa Theory of human origins, which is the scientific consensus agreed upon by Professor Rushton, about 60,000 years ago one hundred to several hundred modern humans left Africa, probably crossing the Sinai Peninsula. These certainly looked more like Negroes than Nordics. Characteristics that distinguish whites from Negroes evolved later in response to different evolutionary pressures.

        • Ignacio25

          The modern humans that left Africa were closer to the Bushmen, that are not considered the same race as Congoids, although they are obviously closer to them than to Whites. Congoids are likely to have emerged much more years later, and they probably have some DNA that is from another hominid http://dienekes.blogspot.com.ar/2011/08/adaptive-archaic-admixture-in-hla-human.html

          • JohnEngelman

            DNA evidence indicates that the bushmen of southern Africa are the oldest race in existence. By this I mean that one must go back further in time to find a common male ancestor and a common female ancestor. Other Negro sub races, such as the Bantu, evolved from the bushmen.

            The Bantu have practiced agriculture for about three and a half thousand years, while the bushmen have continued to hunt and gather wild animals and plant foods. The differing evolutionary pressures of agriculture are probably responsible for the ways in which the Bantu differ from the bushmen.

            The ancestors of all humans probably were most similar to the bushmen sixty thousand years ago, when the ancestors of those who are not Negroes left Africa. Although the bushmen have lower average IQs than Bantu, sixty thousand years ago they were more intelligent than the more primitive humans living outside of Africa.

    • Dwight Schrute

      The Recent African Origin model is not about political correctness. The evidence is very heavily in favour of it, and most people know it. It has a “pop culture” name (Out-of-Africa) and everybody has heard of Mitochondrial Eve. Thus, disputing it risks alienating people, and offers no potential gain. If it were found to be wrong, there would be no opposition to it because it makes no difference to political correctness whether our common ancestor lived 100,000 years ago or 1,000,000.

      • Dude

        You clearly don’t understand the multi-regional theory. Look it up.

  • Sam Z.

    Human Origins is a field beset with “Eureka” passions. What is unknown so much dwarfs what
    is known that speculative findings (Out of Africa, e.g.) are just manifestations of how
    contemporary political dynamics weave far too much cloth from far too few strands of fact. No figure has been abused by all this as much as the late Carleton Coon. His findings of the
    mid-60’s are worthy of review and reconstruction. Don’t hold your breath waiting for academia
    to get started. Maybe in Russia? But not here.

  • pcmustgo

    What does it say about humanity that Asians (and even more so, Amer-Indians) are the “newest” form of human?

    • MarcusTrajanus

      Every lineage continues to evolve (diverge) after a split, so in no way are Asians or Amer-Indians “newer”. Europeans continued evolving in Europe after splitting from Asians, Africans continued evolving in Africa after splitting from Eurasians, etc.

  • bigone4u

    Everybody knows that Yakub, the ancient black scientist, created the white race as a race of devils to be the cause of all the problems of blacks. I wonder if old Yakub had anything to do with creating asians.

  • William Allingham

    to say that we all have a black ancestor implies that blacks are a relic of human evolution like crocodiles or sharks and thats not very flattering,

    to say that the first humans came from africa doesnt means they were black, maybe they were just ape-like and full of hair, differentiation to present day human races coming later.

    • Son of Sambo

      Humans don’t have any common ancestry with sharks, except waaaaay back 500 million years or so with the first vertebrates. Our common ancestry with crocodiles would go back at least 350 million years. Neither of them is part of our direct lineage.

      • William Allingham

        I mentioned sharks and crocodiles because both are known to be relics of evolution, e.i. like living fossils, i didn’t mean that they are our close ancestors.

        i was trying to point out that if the first humans (many thousands of years ago) were blacks this makes blacks a very ancient form of human which like sharks and crocodiles has survived to the present day without much modification,

        its more or less like saying (in a colloquial manner) “the same way humans evolved from monkeys; present human races evolved from blacks”.

        so i think its better to say that the first humans although they came from Africa, they didn’t belong to any human race.

  • June

    I was a graduate student in anthropology in the late 1960s and 1970s. At that time many scientists believed that modern humans evolved in Asia. Yes, early hominids were in Africa but they were also in places like China, Indonesia and even Europe. In fact recent research has revealed that some of the earliest primitive “primates” (tiny lemur or mouse-like creatures) from tens of millions of years ago came from the American South, and were found in fossil deposits in Meridian, Mississippi (Google the “Red Hot Truck Stop” fossil site).

    Also in the 1970s, primitive stone tools, referred to as the “Lively Complex,” were found at archaeological sites in East MS and West AL. Louis Leakey himself examined some of these tools and pronounced them indistinguishable from what he found in Africa and speculated that there may have been Old Stone Age humans (Neanderthals, etc.) in the area. This was all later dismissed in a wave of political correctness aided by a conflict between the elder Leakey and his son back in Africa.

    Did some of our ancestors come from Africa? Well, maybe, BUT they also likely came from almost everywhere else on earth, except the polar regions.

    By the way, it’s my understanding that Europeans are most closely related genetically to north Asians (Siberians, Manchurians, Ainu, etc.) and American Indians. Black Africans, Australian Aboriginals, etc., are far more distantly related.

  • scutum1

    I believe that blacks are the present day descendents of Homo -Erectus and are a seperate species of hominid, distinct from the Eurasion peoples.

    • JohnEngelman

      We are all descendants of homo erectus, including Neanderthals. Modern humans evolved in Africa 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. Evolution was moving faster in Africa because humans there had more genetic diversity and because there were many more humans there. A large gene pool is likely to evolve faster than a small gene pool because there is more of a chance of beneficial mutations in a large gene pool, and the beneficial mutations can spread faster.

      It was only with the development of agriculture and civilization that whites and Orientals developed more intelligence and less of an inclination to engage in violent crime than Negroes remaining in Africa.

      • Ignacio25

        Since you seem to like Rushton, wasn´t he of the idea that the Ice Age was the main factor involved in the development of high intelligence?

        • JohnEngelman

          That is what Professor Rushton has said, and it is the one area where I disagree with him. Living in a cold climate does require more intelligence than living in Africa prior to the modern era. That is why North American Indians and Eskimos average higher IQs than African Negroes.

          Nevertheless, the Neanderthals lived in Europe for several hundred thousand years during several ice ages. What we know about them indicates that they were less intelligent than the more recent immigrants from Africa who displaced them.

          A more plausible explanation of racial differences in average IQ can be found in “The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution,” by University of Utah professors Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.

          http://www.amren.com/ar/2009/05/index.html#article1

          This book argues that superior intelligence developed when agriculture and urban civilization developed. The differences in average IQ between Negroes on one hand, and whites and Orientals on the other, can be explained by the fact that whites and Orientals have practiced agriculture for over twice the number of centuries Negroes have, and by the fact that large numbers of Negroes only began to live in cities during the last century.

          However, whites have practiced agriculture and civilization for a slightly longer period of time than Orientals. “The 10,000 Year Explosion” does not explain why Orientals tend to be slightly more intelligent than whites of European ancestry.

          I explain IQ differences between whites and Orientals by the dark age that followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Until the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe writing and mathematics were largely forgotten. Fighting ability was more important to prolificacy than superior intelligence.

          Also the Roman Catholic priesthood absorbed intelligent peasant boys and forbade them from having children. In China intelligent peasant boys passed the Imperial Examinations, entered the Scholar Gentry, and were encouraged to have several wives and many children.

          • Ignacio25

            And how do you explain the decrease in cranial capacity followed by agriculture? I have read that Cro-Magnons had larger brains than modern humans and the neolithic revolution was possibly the most important factor in such decrease. And I think that most of us agree that in general cranial capacity is related to intelligence.
            I agree with you on celibacy, and that is one of the things that the Jews got right. Rabbis can have all the kids they want, and it is believed it is one of the reasons responsible of the high IQ of jews.

          • Dude

            It could’ve been visual memory that was lost, which is useful mostly for nomads. Eskimos have bigger brains than any other race, and they have superior visual memory to us while their IQs are lower. Elephants have huge brains and incredible visual memory which helps them navigate, but lack human capacity for abstract reasoning.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        I think you’re wrong there, John. Evolution always works fastest in small isolated populations, which it the opposite of the situation you describe for African hominids.

        • JohnEngelman

          Consider the same species divided into two gene pools with little or no genetic communication between them. Gene pool #1 has 200,000 members. Gene pool #2 has 20,000 members. Now let us imagine that in every generation there are 10 beneficial mutations per 1,000 members.

          Correct my arithmetic if you need to, but according to my calculations the larger gene pool gets 2,000 beneficial mutations each generation. The smaller gene pool gets 200.

          Some of these beneficial mutations will be lost, but over time the larger gene pool will evolve faster, when other conditions are comparable.

          • Michael_C_Scott

            Mathematically, you are completely correct, but the genetic exceptions correct toward to the mean, and this is where small populations with no significant interchange diverge.

          • Dwight Schrute

            You have to look at more than mutations, you have to look at how quickly it is possible for that mutation to become prevalent. All things being equal, a genetic mutation would spread to from 200 to 2,000 at the same rate as from 2000 to 20,000. What matters more is the population growth (or shrink) rate vs the rate for the portion of the population with the beneficial mutation. Generally a shrinking population will experience more rapid evolution than a growing population.

          • David Ashton

            The definition of a beneficial mutation is one that improves the fitness of a population in a given environment.

  • vengeance has its price

    40k years ago is a joke as it was 4k yrs ago and of course the so called native Americans who are anything but American or natives were from Asia being of the red yellow mongoloid race who became impostors when they crossed the Bering ice bridge or canoed from eastern Siberia Russia to the island and then to the northwestern tip of the western hemisphere by the millions beginning 1500 yrs ago where they traveled 10k miles south to what is now Chile leaving their mongoloid race tracks as eskimos, injuns, aztecs, myans, tainos, amazons, etc

    The Spanish conquistadors came 500 yrs ago and conquered them but failed to eradicate these impostor Asian mongoloid migrants in central and south western hemisphere and of course the English Anglicans failed to eradicate them in the north western hemisphere as they were instructed to do after conquering them as as the Creator had done 4000 yrs earlier in the great flood other than Noah and his 3 sons an wives who repopulated the 3 continents of Europe Asia and Africa. Payback has been a bitch ever since with their populating like rats and of coure the mistake of slavery from Africa 500 yrs ago.
    Vengeance is mine and I am not mocked … And thats the rest of the story …

  • Stein

    Everything that comes from this Svante guy is mumbled and incomprehensive.
    “In addition, the researchers found that the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan-DNA in this early modern human is not higher than in people living in this region nowadays.”
    Well – did they find any neanderthal DNA whatsoever, and how are they sure it is so? Afaik neanderthal genome is not yet properly classified.

    Lloyd Pye is a much more entertaining and also informative on our remote ancestry. Test his lecture “everything you know is wrong” on youtube.

  • Michael_C_Scott

    The date for arrival in Australia of people is generally accepted as about 50,000 years ago. If they were there 50k years ago, this pushes the earliest date of colonization of the Middle East and Asia well before 40k years ago. Did the Australian Aboriginees all catch a paleolithic Quantas flight from Cairo? We can leave Europe out of the picture for this argument because much of it was still a glaciated ice sheet even less hospitable than East London is today.

  • samonrun

    All that means is there are chinese (beijingense) people with really old markers just like the haplogroup R vs. Haplogroup I1, it tells nothing of the over all pop.