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

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Denisovan remains 200 k years old, and their stone tools

A new paper (Brown, S., Massilani, D., Kozlikin, M.B. et al. The earliest Denisovans and their cultural adaptation. Nat Ecol Evol (2021). reports finding the oldest Denisovan remains yet, over 200,000 years old. They were also accompanied by stone tools.

The team found five bones in the cave at Denisova (they literally sifted through thousands of tiny bone pieces to find them).

Thee five bone fragments were designated Denisova 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 respectively. They managed to analyze the mtDNA in the five bone samples and found that one (Denisova 17) could be grouped within the Neanderthals meaning it is a Neanderthal. Three fell within the Denisovan group (Denisova 19, 20, and 21), and one couldn't be classified due to lack of sufficient genetic material (Denisova 18), it was human though.

Their ages range from ~134 ka (the Neanderthal, Denisova 17), the three Denisovans are much older: ~229 ka and the authors state that "renders Denisova 19, 20 and 21 the oldest Denisovans currently docdocumented"

They also found stone tools in the same layers of sediment that contained these Denisovans. They are unusual: they are of "an early Middle Palaeolithic stone tool industry that has no direct counterparts in North and Central Asia. If we were to look further afield, the closest parallel is the Acheulo–Yabrudian cultural complex (AYCC) from the Near East. The AYCC has been identified at several cave (mostly) and open-air sites such as Tabun, Qesem, Hayonim and Misliya, dating to between 400/350 and 250 ka".

stone tools crafted by Denisovans from the article.

They also noted that "There are no bifacial tools in the Denisova assemblage; bifaces are a typical element of the Acheulean variant of the AYCC" so this sets Denisova Cave tools apart from the sites of the AYCC.

The authors say that "The lithic assemblage comprises discoidal, Levallois, and parallel cores to produce flakes using primary reduction techniques", and that is interesting, Levallois tools were used by Neanderthals and also archaic modern humans, and now, we know that Denisovans made them too.

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