Our Missing Ancestor

Monday, July 08, 2013

Jamie Shreeve, National Geographic magazine’s executive editor for science talks about why DNA from a skeleton found in a cave in Russia adds a mysterious new member to the human family. His latest article, “The Case of the Missing Ancestor,” is in the July issue of National Geographic.


© Robert Clark/National Geographic
The Tooth

Two molars, including this one, and a chip from a pinkie bone are the only fossil evidence so far of the enigmatic people known as the Denisovans. From the July issue of National Geographic magazine.

© Robert Clark/National Geographic
The Expert

Svante Pääbo led the team that studied the Denisovans’ DNA. His ultimate quarry, he says, is not them but us: He wants to understand the genetic changes that made humans modern. From the July issue of National Geographic magazine.

© Robert Clark/National Geographic
The Bone

A replica shows the size and position—on Pääbo’s pinkie—of the bone chip that allowed his lab to discover the Denisovans through their DNA. The chip belonged to an eight-year-old girl. From the July issue of National Geographic magazine.

National Geographic
July issue of National Geographic magazine.


Jamie Shreeve
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Comments [2]

Ed from Larchmont

In Catholic theology one would say that there could have been many species of primates ... but at some point one primate was given a human soul ... or the body of the man was made from the dust. It makes sense that other primates would show cultures of some kind.

Jul. 08 2013 01:51 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Do all modern Homo sapiens have some Neanderthal DNA, or are there some populations that remained separate?

Jul. 08 2013 01:39 PM

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