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 © 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Covid-19 is pushing mankind up to the limits, showing our weakness against this kind of threats. Necessarily, a new world must have to arise after this…perhaps a gradually implemented world policy, more focused on the welfare and the needs of all people, could be a feasible goal to achieve to in not so long term.
    I wish (as most people do) that we were on the onset of such change…

    What you have posted is absolutely interesting, and not only due of the extracted conclusions about H. antecessor, which are indeed relevant… but too because of this newly developed scientific approach to infer phylogenetic considerations, that takes advantage on the surprising preservation capabilities of these enamel proteins along time.
    It appears to be a amazing tool to explore well deep into the Pleistocene, at least in the cases in which the destruction of the sample (or part of it) can be tolerated.
    Respect to its possible applications, surely there will be many. As an example of them, comes to my mind the subject of your post of October 13, 2019 “Australian pygmies, fact and fiction”, (in which there´s a risky, but interesting speculation of yours)
    ¿What if similar analysis performed on H. floresciensis teeth from Liang Bua site (>60 Ka) or even on Mata Mengue mandible (>700Ka), and also on teeth from extant New Guinea pygmies, could lead to infer “certain” phylogenetic relationships between them???...thus giving some support to, not only “Pygmies first” myth as being real… but also that they were decendents from Hobbit´s arrived from Sundaland…

    Thank you for keep posting even in this hard times.
    Best regards


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