Category Archives: Archaic humans

Who We Are: #4 Denisovans

In Chapter 3, Reich talks about the discovery of the Denisovans, a sister archaic group to the Neanderthals that lived in eastern Asia. It all started out with a pinky bone found in a cave in southern Siberia. The DNA … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, Book Reviews, Denisovans | 64 Comments

“Who We Are: #3 Neanderthals

In Chapter 2, Encounters With Neanderthals, David Reich talks about his work in analyzing the first successfully sequenced Neanderthal genomes, and the discoveries that led to. Reich’s team, with Nick Patterson making an especially important contribution, found that Neanderthals were … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, Book Reviews, Neanderthals | 61 Comments

mtDNA capers

There’s an interesting pattern in the mtDNA of archaic humans. Neanderthals have mtDNA that’s a lot closer to that of anatomically modern humans than to Denisovans, although Neanderthals and Denisovans are close if you look at nuclear DNA. While really … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, Denisovans, Genetics, Neanderthals | 6 Comments

Degenerate Neanderthals

There are a couple of new papers out on how utterly fucked-up Neanderthals must have been, The Genetic Cost of Neanderthal Introgression by Kelley Harris and Rasmus Nielsen, and The Strength of Selection Against Neanderthal Introgression, by Ivan Juric, Simon … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, Neanderthals | 62 Comments

Faster than Fisher

There’s a simple model of the spread of an advantageous allele:  You take σ, the typical  distance people move in one generation, and s,  the selective advantage: the advantageous allele spreads as a nonlinear wave at speed  σ * √(2s).  … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovans, Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals, Skin color | Tagged | 75 Comments

Ust’-Ishim & the Old Race

There’s a new report out in Nature, on the DNA results from a 45,000 AMH skeleton found in Western Siberia.  It’s the oldest radiocarbon-dated modern human outside Africa and the Middle East. The Neanderthal admixture is there,  about the same … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, European Prehistory, Genetics, Neanderthals | Tagged | 30 Comments

Let’s Get Small

I said earlier than it seemed likely that archaic hominid living in special environments, for a long time (sometimes more than a million years) inevitably developed high-quality adaptations to those environments, and since such alleles are easily transmitted, modern humans … Continue reading

Posted in Altitude adaptations, Bushmen, Denisovans, Mangani, Pygmies | 31 Comments

The Genghis-Khan effect

We know of several examples of a huge expansion of a paternal lineage, and several other cases seem likely to be the same thing.  It’s worth taking a close look at the first one found, the paternal lineage of Genghis … Continue reading

Posted in Genghis -Khan effect, Neanderthals | 121 Comments

Powerful Stuff

I was thinking again about that Denisovan allele of EPAS1 that plays a big role in Tibetan altitude adaptation.  Considering modern humans, it has only been found in Tibetans (high frequency) and in the Chinese (couple of percent).  The preferred … Continue reading

Posted in Altitude adaptations, Denisovans, Genetics | 18 Comments

Rasmus Nielsen

The paper on the Denisovan origin of one of the key altitude-adaptation genes (EPAS1) in Tibetans is now out (lead author Emilia Huerta-Sanchez,  senior author Rasmus Nielsen). It’s on a Denisovan haplotype.   Likely Denisovans occupied a lot of East … Continue reading

Posted in Altitude adaptations, Denisovans, Genetics | 22 Comments