(ORDO NEWS) — Ancient people in a world very similar to the world from the “Lord of the Rings” and engaged in interspecies sex. DNA shows that the first modern humans had sex with Neanderthals, Denisovans and “mysterious species”.
Ancient humans lived in a “Lord of the Rings-type world” where the enigmatic species copulated with Neanderthals, Denisovans and predecessors of modern humans, paleontologists say.
The study, published in the journal Nature, presented the ancient genomes of ancient people, which were made public at a meeting at the Royal Society in London.
The researchers said there were far more crossbreeding between different human species than previously thought. Among the participants was an ancestor of mankind from Asia, about whom nothing is known.
The researchers said interspecies sex took place 30,000 years ago.
Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London, said: “This suggests that we are looking at a Lord of the Rings type of world – that there were many hominid populations.”
Recent studies by scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the Natural History Museum in the UK have shown that Denisovans interbred with modern humans about 50,000 years ago.
“Genetic evidence suggests that male Denisovans interbred with female modern humans, suggesting the possibility of such interactions when a small number of modern humans first crossed the Wallace Line and entered Denisovan territory,” the study authors said.
Researchers at a meeting of the Royal Society said interbreeding contributed to the genetic diversity of modern humans.
People whose ancestors came from outside of Africa have about 2% Neanderthal DNA, while some people from Oceania have 4% Denisovan DNA.
David Reich, an evolutionary geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said the Denisovans interbred with an extinct population of archaic humans that lived in Asia.
Chris Stringer, of London’s Natural History Museum, said: “We have no idea what this enigmatic new species belongs to.”
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