Distant relative of Indians found in southern China

(ORDO NEWS) — After analyzing the genome of an ancient man who lived in the late Pleistocene in southern China, scientists have found that he belongs to a previously unknown genetic line of people who are distant relatives of Native Americans.

About 30 years ago, archaeologists discovered a large burial of human fossils in the Red Deer Cave, located in Yunnan province in southern China.

Carbon analysis has shown that the age of the remains is about 14 thousand years old and they belong to the late Pleistocene , when modern people migrated to many parts of the world.

Of particular interest to scientists was the cranium, in the structure of which the features of modern and archaic people were bizarrely combined.

For example, the shape of the skull resembled that of a Neanderthal, and its brain was found to be smaller than that of modern humans.

Based on this, scientists have suggested that the “Red Deer Man” actually belonged to an unknown species or was a hybrid of a modern and archaic person.

In 2018, Chinese scientists conducted a genetic analysis of the remains from the Red Deer Cave to finally uncover the truth.

The sequencing was successful and showed that the “Red Deer Man” belonged to a hitherto unknown genetic lineage of modern humans, whose surviving descendants now populate Southeast Asia.

The find also gave scientists clues about how ancient people settled Asia and moved to America, marking the beginning of the history of the North American Indians.

Since the genetic diversity of ancient people in the south is much higher than in the north, it is logical to assume that the ancestors of the Indians lived in Southeast Asia, after which they moved north along the coastline, through Japan and Siberia to the Bering Isthmus, at that time connecting the Old World with New.

Distant relative of Indians found in southern China 2
The entrance to the cave of the Red Deer and the skull of an ancient man found in it

In the future, the researchers plan to study the DNA of more ancient people who preceded the inhabitants of the Red Deer Cave.

This will not only help to build a more complete picture of human settlement around the world, but also track how people adapted to new conditions – for example, changing skin color in response to changes in the intensity of ultraviolet radiation.


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