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Science&TechnologyArcheologyA 130,000-year-old baby tooth

A 130,000-year-old baby tooth

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

It provides more information on how man came to be

A baby tooth at least 130,000 years old, found in a cave in Laos, could help scientists find more information about an early cousin of the human race, according to a study published in Nature Communications. Researchers believe the discovery proves that the Denisovans – an extinct branch of humanity – lived in the warm tropics of Southeast Asia.

Very little is known about the Denisovans, cousins ​​of the Neanderthals. Scientists first discovered them while working in a Siberian cave in 2010 and found a finger bone of a girl belonging to a hitherto unidentified group of people. Using only soil and sage found in Denis Cave, they extracted the entire genome of the group.

Then in 2019, researchers found a jawbone on the Tibetan Plateau, proving that some of the species also lived in China. Apart from these rare fossils, the Denisovan man left almost no trace before he disappeared – except in the genes of today’s human DNA. Thanks to the crossbreeding with Homo sapiens, remains of the Denisovan man can be found in the current populations in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Aborigines and people in Papua New Guinea have up to five percent of the DNA of the ancient species.

Scientists have concluded that “the modern ancestors of these populations were” mixed “with Denisovans in Southeast Asia,” said Clement Zanoli, a paleoanthropologist and co-author of the study. But there is no “physical evidence” of their presence in this part of the Asian continent, far from the icy mountains of Siberia or Tibet, a researcher from the French National Research Center told AFP.

This was until a group of scientists began studying the remains of the Cobra Cave in northeastern Laos. Cave experts discovered the area in the mountains in 2018 next to the cave Tam Pa Ling, where the remains of ancient people have already been found. It immediately turned out that the tooth had a “typically human” shape, Zanoli explains. The study says that the study of ancient proteins shows that the tooth belongs to a child, probably a girl, aged between 3.5 and 8.5 years. After analyzing the shape of the tooth, scientists believe that it is most likely Denisovans who lived in the cave 164,000 to 131,000 years ago.

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