'Baffling' New Hominim Found in Sima de los Huesos, Spain

'Baffling' New Hominim Found in Sima de los Huesos, Spain


(source of figure: AFP/File, Cesar Manso)

Another day, another picture of people digging under cave, another ‘incredible breakthrough’, another sex story !! After Denisovans and extremely ancient African (discussed in Denisovans, Extremely Ancient Africans the Role Cheap Sequencing Plays in Rewriting Human History) comes today’s ‘baffling finding’ that pushes the record by four times.

Using a thigh bone from the cave, Matthias Meyer from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has sequenced the almost complete mitochondrial genome of one of Sima de los Huesos inhabitants, who likely lived around 400,000 years ago. That is at least four times older than the previous record-holdera small 100,000-year-old stretch of Neanderthal DNA.

Discovery channel pushes the sex angle. Sex sells, even in next-gen sequencing.

Ancient Humans Had Sex with Mystery Relatives

They even go to the extent of concocting an amorous image.

Sci-news reports that the ‘genome is sequenced’, even though it is not.

Sima de los Huesos: Scientists Sequence Genome of Enigmatic Hominin

Truth: Nuclear genome is very unlikely to get sequenced according to the authors. Even the mitochondrial sequence was full of contamination.

Nature sells you the paper for $32 (or $199, if you are wealthy).

A Mitochondrial Genome Sequence of a Hominin from Sima de los Huesos

Excavations of a complex of caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain have unearthed hominin fossils that range in age from the early Pleistocene to the Holocene1. One of these sites, the Sima de los Huesos (pit of bones), has yielded the worlds largest assemblage of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils2, 3, consisting of at least 28 individuals4 dated to over 300,000 years ago5. The skeletal remains share a number of morphological features with fossils classified as Homo heidelbergensis and also display distinct Neanderthal-derived traits6, 7, 8. Here we determine an almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos and show that it is closely related to the lineage leading to mitochondrial genomes of Denisovans9, 10, an eastern Eurasian sister group to Neanderthals. Our results pave the way for DNA research on hominins from the Middle Pleistocene.

Only Dan Graur (@dangraur) gives you what matters -

i) the full paper


ii) Healthy dose of skepticism.


Written by M. //