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Science. 2017 May 12;356(6338):605-608. doi: 10.1126/science.aam9695. Epub 2017 Apr 27.

Neandertal and Denisovan DNA from Pleistocene sediments.

Author information

1
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. viviane_slon@eva.mpg.de mmeyer@eva.mpg.de.
2
Department of Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
3
Research Group for Ancient Genomics and Evolution, Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
4
Área de Prehistoria, Department of History, Universidad de Oviedo, Calle Teniente Alfonso Martínez s/n, 33011 Oviedo, Spain.
5
Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (UPF-CSIC), 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
6
Departamento de Paleobiología, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, 28006 Madrid, Spain.
7
Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, 2333CC Leiden, Netherlands.
8
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Deutscher Platz 6, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
9
Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole, Dorset, UK.
10
Service de Préhistoire, Université de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.
11
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch, Novosibirsk, RU-630090, Russia.
12
Altai State University, Barnaul, RU-656049, Russia.
13
Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia.
14
Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia.
15
Novosibirsk National Research State University, Novosibirsk, RU-630090, Russia.
16
Centre Européen de Recherches Préhistoriques de Tautavel, 66720 Tautavel, France.
17
Institut de Paléontologie Humaine, 75013 Paris, France.
18
Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Département Homme et Environnement, UMR 7194 HNHP, 75013 Paris, France.
19
Anthropology Center of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.

Abstract

Although a rich record of Pleistocene human-associated archaeological assemblages exists, the scarcity of hominin fossils often impedes the understanding of which hominins occupied a site. Using targeted enrichment of mitochondrial DNA, we show that cave sediments represent a rich source of ancient mammalian DNA that often includes traces of hominin DNA, even at sites and in layers where no hominin remains have been discovered. By automation-assisted screening of numerous sediment samples, we detected Neandertal DNA in eight archaeological layers from four caves in Eurasia. In Denisova Cave, we retrieved Denisovan DNA in a Middle Pleistocene layer near the bottom of the stratigraphy. Our work opens the possibility of detecting the presence of hominin groups at sites and in areas where no skeletal remains are found.

PMID:
28450384
DOI:
10.1126/science.aam9695
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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