Artificial intelligence identifies a human ancestor who would have been hybrid of Neanderthals and Denisovans


The in-depth learning algorithm has identified the genome of a human ancestor who would have been a hybrid of Neanderthals and Denisovans. This species is not known to modern science. (Rodrigo of the torre | Pixabay)

Artificial intelligence seems to have helped evolutionary biologists identify a former human ancestor, whose identity is not yet known to modern science.

Old hybrid human

In August, researchers revealed the first discovery of a former human hybrid, a woman who died approximately 90,000 years ago. His bone was found in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Russia.

The genetic analysis revealed that the parents of the former individuals belonged to distinct human groups. She had a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovian father.

"The father, whose genome carries traces of Neanderthal ancestry, is from a population related to a Denisovan discovered in the cave," Vivian Slon, of the Max Planck Institute of Neanderthals. evolutionary anthropology, and his colleagues reported in Nature. "The mother is from a population closer to the Neanderthals who later lived in Europe."

Neanderthals and Denisovans

Neanderthals and Denisovans are two subspecies of archaic human beings. Neanderthals settled in Europe and parts of western Asia. The Denisovans probably settled in Central Asia and Siberia, where the first bone of the species was discovered in 2008.

Both groups are genetically distinct from each other but both are probably crossed with modern humans. Studies suggest that this miscegenation conferred on modern humans defenses against viruses and diseases. Some of the inherited genes may even have influenced the shape of the human skull and brain.

Scientists also generally believe that Neanderthals and Denisovans would have united, although researchers have found only one material evidence to prove this miscegenation.

Results of a new study published in Nature communication suggest that the Neanderthal and Denisovan hybrid discovered in Russia was not an isolated case, but was part of a more general introgression process.

AI plans an unknown human ancestor

Scar Lao, of the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG) of the University of Tartu and his colleagues have used in-depth learning algorithms and statistical methods to study human evolution.

The researchers formed an algorithm to predict human demographics using genomes obtained from hundreds of thousands of other simulations.

"In-depth learning allows us to observe what makes the ancestral puzzle fit together," Lao explained.

Their research has identified, in the genome of a human ancestor, the footprint of a new hominid that would have been a hybrid of Neanderthals and Denisovians. The results of the computer analysis of DNA also show the extinct species crossed with modern humans Out of Africa in Asia.

"In addition to introgressions reported by Neanderthal and Denisovan, our results support a third introgression among all Asian and Oceanian populations belonging to an archaic population," the researchers wrote.

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