Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Homo antecessor and its relationship with Neandethals, Denisovans and Humans

Covid-19 is disrupting the lives across the world with its path of sickness and death spreading globally. But science continues. Today I post about an article published in Nature this week: Welker, F., Ramos-Madrigal, J., Gutenbrunner, P. et al. The dental proteome of Homo antecessor Nature (2020).

The authors studied proteins from the teeth enamel -which degrade slower than DNA. These proteins came from a specimen of Homo antecessor, a hominin that lived in Spain (Atapuerca) 800 kya, and Dmanisi Homo erectus (1.77 My old). They compared them to those of Modern Humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Their abstract highlights the following (quote):

  • "H. antecessor is a close sister lineage to subsequent Middle and Late Pleistocene hominins, including modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans."
  • "The modern-like face of H. antecessor—that is, similar to that of modern humans—may have a considerably deep ancestry in the genus Homo, and that the cranial morphology of Neanderthals represents a derived form."

The trees built by the authors show that both Dmanisi and Antecessor are part of our tree, but both lie on branches that do not lead to us. We branched from them. More evidence is needed to find these homins who cover the gap between us and them.

Note that the protein from the Dmanisi erectus was too damaged to provide useful information.

Keep safe, wash your hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Written in an Argentina in isolation and lockdown.

Patagonian Monsters - Cryptozoology, Myths & legends in Patagonia Copyright 2009-2014 by Austin Whittall © 
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