"Homo neanderthalensis" by Tiia Monto is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Neanderthals and Denisovans Shared a Siberian Cave for Thousands of Years, New Research Suggests

Jan 31, 2019

By George Dvorsky

Denisova cave in southern Siberia was home to Neanderthals and Denisovans for thousands of years, but questions remain about the timing of their stay. A pair of new studies traces the history of archaic human occupation at the site, showing who lived there and when—including a possible era during which the two now-extinct species hung out together.

Two papers published today in Nature present an updated timeline for the occupation of Denisova cave by Neanderthals and Denisovans. The new research suggests the Denisovans—a sister species to the Neanderthals—made this cave their home for a longer period than Neanderthals, first venturing into the cave as far back as 287,000 years ago. Neanderthals arrived at the site around 140,000 years ago, possibly sharing the space with the Denisovans for thousands of years. It’s further evidence that Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred—and that this co-mingling happened at or near Denisova.

Archaeologists and paleontologists have carefully sifted through Denisova cave for the past 40 years, pulling out various animal and Neanderthal bones. But the real bombshell came in 2010 with the discovery of a finger bone from previously unknown human species, the so-called Denisovans. Genetic analysis suggests the Denisovans were a related species to the Neanderthals, but pretty much everything else about them remains a mystery, such as when they first appeared on the scene and when they died out.

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

One comment on “Neanderthals and Denisovans Shared a Siberian Cave for Thousands of Years, New Research Suggests”

  • We look at the remains of ancient Egypt and Rome and we are mesmerised at the thought of people two or three thousand years ago creating such wonders which are still there to be admired and enjoyed.  The mind goes dizzy at the thought of our human forbears, living their lives in the same place, and much the same way, for 287,000 years.  Having children, feeding them, loving them, making tools, hunting animals and passing on their culture, until they were replaced or co-opted by their more efficient, more ruthless cousins.


    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.