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Ancient skulls give clues to China human history

Two skulls found in China shed light on the ancient humans who inhabited the region before our own species arrived.
We know that Europe and western Asia was dominated by the Neanderthals before Homo sapiens displaced them.
But remains belonging to equivalent populations in East and Central Asia have been scarce. It's unclear if the finds are linked to the Denisovans, a mysterious human group known only from DNA analysis of a tooth and finger bone from Siberia.

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Denisova Cave
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First glimpse inside the Siberian cave that holds the key to man's origins

These exclusive pictures show the world famous Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains from which a series of stunning scientific discoveries on man's origins have been made in recent years.
More are expected as a result of a hive of archeological activity - overseen by the specialists from Novosibirsk State University - underway at this unique site inhabited continuously from the deep past.

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Stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

Dating back 40,000 years to the Denisovan species of early humans, new pictures show beauty and craftsmanship of prehistoric jewellery. It is intricately made with polished green stone and is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. Yet this is no modern-day fashion accessory and is instead believed to be the oldest stone bracelet in the world, dating to as long ago as 40,000 years.
Unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008, after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept its remarkable age as correct.

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Mysterious ancient human crossed Wallace's Line

Scientists have proposed that the most recently discovered ancient human relatives - the Denisovans - somehow managed to cross one of the world's most prominent marine barriers in Indonesia, and later interbred with modern humans moving through the area on the way to Australia and New Guinea.
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Denisova cave girl
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DNA of girl from Denisova cave gives up genetic secrets

The DNA of a cave girl who lived about 80,000 years ago has been analysed in remarkable detail.
The picture of her genome is as accurate as that of modern day human genomes, and shows she had brown eyes, hair and skin.
The research in Science also sheds new light on the genetic differences between modern humans and their closest extinct relatives.
The cave dweller, a Denisovan, was a cousin of the Neanderthals.

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Human evolution 'occurred outside Africa also'

Scientists have claimed that human evolution also occurred outside Africa, after they found evidence that people in East Asia share genetic material with Denisovans, known as the mysterious cousins of Neanderthals.
A team at Uppsala University in Sweden says that hybridisation took place at several points in evolution and the genetic traces of this can be found in several places in the world.

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Denisova hominin
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The Denisova hominin is the remains (a finger bone and tooth) of a member of the genus Homo that may belong to a previously unknown species based on an analysis of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). In March 2010, discovery was announced of a finger bone fragment of a juvenile that lived about 41,000 years ago found in Denisova Cave (Altai Krai, Russia), a region also inhabited at about the same time by Neanderthals and modern humans.
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Denisovans
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Ancient humans, dubbed 'Denisovans', interbred with us

Scientists say an entirely separate type of human identified from bones in Siberia co-existed and interbred with our own species.
The ancient humans have been dubbed "Denisovans" after the caves in Siberia where their remains were found.
There is also evidence that this population was widespread in Eurasia.
A study in Nature journal shows that Denisovans co-existed with Neanderthals and interbred with our species - perhaps around 50,000 years ago.

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