Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/5/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Human DNA found in 400,000 year old fossil.

It's time to go back to the drawing board over human evolution, following a discovery based on the analysis of prehistoric hominid DNA. Of course, scientists are always redrawing the human evolutionary tree as new discoveries reveal new complexities.

Many branches of the human evolutionary tree are founded on little more than a few bone fragments. However, DNA is helping to fill in major gaps.

Many branches of the human evolutionary tree are founded on little more than a few bone fragments. However, DNA is helping to fill in major gaps.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/5/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: human, evolution, DNA, denisovan, neanderthal, homo sapiens


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The analysis of prehistoric hominid DNA, dating back 400,000 years, reveals that the DNA is strikingly human. Until now, the oldest human DNA ever found dated back only 100,000 years and the now-smashed version of the human evolutionary tree says that humans as a species are only 100,000 years old.

We now suspect that may be wrong.

In the journal Nature, scientists reported that DNA recovered from a bone taken from a prehistoric hominid site in Spain, is human and dates back four times farther than any other sample of modern human DNA. This suggests that genetically modern humans have walked the Earth for nearly half-a-million years.

It's a shattering find because it will require the reworking of the human family tree and raises a lot of new and perplexing questions.

The DNA was extracted from a thigh bone fossil previously thought to have come from a forerunner species to the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals are a distinct species of human that died out in the past 50,000 years.

Instead of matching Neanderthal DNA however, the sample more closely matches Denisovan DNA, whis was another species of human that lived around 80,000 years ago in Siberia.

So what is Denisovian DNA doing far away from Siberia in a place where Neanderthal DNA should be?

The answer is purely speculation, at least until further DNA and peer review are performed. However, a preferred scenario is that our pre-human ancestors traveled more and interbred more than we might have previously thought.

Although there are some key differences between species of pre-human ancestors, the most recent ancestors of modern humans were quite similar to one another and they interbred. In fact, modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens (that's us) are believed to have interbred with Denisovans and Neanderthals both. A minority of living humans today carry DNA traces from both Denisovans and Neanderthals.

Neanderthals and Denisovan humans both became extinct yielding to modern humans who themselves evolved out of Africa and probably out-competed and out-bred their earlier cousins.

If the story of human evolution makes your head spin, you're not alone. Ultimately, anthropologists have a modicum of evidence from which to draw upon and make conclusions. New discoveries, which happen all the time, lead to new knowledge and periodically compel anthropologists to redraw the human family tree.

Although these discoveries can cause shifts between the branches, the basic story of human evolution remains enshrined in scientific theory. There is virtually zero doubt among professional, peer-reviewed scientists that humans evolved from primitive ancestors, as did apes and all other organisms on Earth. Although it should be mentioned-to clarify, that humans are in no way descended from apes and the story of human evolution does not assert this oft-mistaken claim.

In fact, evolution seems to be a basic natural fact with real-world implications. For example, evolution is the reason why antibiotics are becoming useless as people overuse them. If evolution did not occur, then new versions of antibiotics would not be necessary.

Understanding human origins is key to understanding humanity itself, as well as deciphering history and prehistory. Hominid migration patterns followed animals, diseases followed humans, and behind humans came the domestication of crops and animals, the evolution of new diseases, and civilization itself. The story of human evolution is important because it helps us understand ourselves and our place in the world, and how the creative forces which shaped us work.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Green

You'll never believe what these scientists found in space! Watch

Image of An artists rendering of the 300 light year long gas bubble that encloses our solar system.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A study published last month appears to suggest that our entire solar system is enclosed within a giant gas bubble. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The entire bubble is about 300 light years long (roughly 1,764,000,000,000,000 miles) and its walls are made of gas ... continue reading


UNITED NATIONS: Global warming could be irreversible Watch

Image of Ocean acidification, which comes from the added carbon absorbed by oceans, will also harm marine life, the report says.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

International experts say that for most intents and purposes, it's too late - global warming is real and could very well be irreversible. A draft of a new international science report released by the United Nations outlines the options that mankind has left. ... continue reading


Satellite confirms fears, ice sheets are melting fast Watch

Image of An artist's impression of Cryosat 2. The ESA mission has confirmed that massive ice sheets are melting fast.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The European environmental satellite Cryosat 2, has independently confirmed what scientists have been saying for some time - the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are melting. The blame for this melting is laid squarely on global warming and correlates with global ... continue reading


Safe, sane ways to get rid of pests - without poison Watch

Image of First off, the adage of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Those who keep pets face a special challenge: with pet food being readily available at all times, many homes with pets sometimes attracts mice and rats as well. These unwanted "pets," or more correctly pests, are usually done away with poisons - that frequently ... continue reading


NEANDERTHALS LIVED WITH MODERN MAN: Researchers say there is new evidence they interbred Watch

Image of It was a given scientific belief that Neanderthals were inferior in intelligence to modern humans, which led to their demise. New evidence has proven that they cooperated with each other, took care of the sick and elderly, carried out elaborate burial rituals and used symbolic language and art to express ideas.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was previously believed that Neanderthals vanished instantaneously and didn't interact what would later become known as Modern Man. However, new evidence shows the wider population overlapped with present-day humans across Europe for up to 5,400 years before ... continue reading


ICE CAPS MELTING: Antarctica, Greenland losing ice mass rapidly Watch

Image of This data was the first to use information from the European Space Agency's CryoSat platform. The satellite was launched in 2010 with a sophisticated radar instrument specifically designed to measure the shape of the polar ice sheets.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At times, it appears that the entire world will be submerged underwater in the space of a few years. Greenland is losing about 375 cubic kilometers of ice annually. Coupled with the discharges coming from Antarctica, Earth's two big ice sheets are now dumping ... continue reading


DISCOVERY SUGGESTS LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS: Ecosystems found in Arctic lakes surprises researchers Watch

Image of It came as a most welcome surprise, as scientists were not on a life-hunting expeditions. The indirect sampling process later raised questions about those results.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Arctic regions of our Earth, where there is very little marine or animal life seem at first incapable of sustaining organisms. However - recent discoveries at both Lake Vostok and Lake Whillans have uncovered healthy ecosystems of microbial life. According ... continue reading


Glacial retreat may halt Chinese dam projects Watch

Image of Tibetan glaciers supply hundreds of millions of people with water, and feed into rivers that run through China, India and much of Southeast Asia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Tibetan plateau has become warmer over the past 50 years than at any stage in the last millennia, a Chinese newspaper reported. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This report, published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, ... continue reading


Humans are doing WHAT? Watch

Image of A glacier in the Alps, one of the largest in the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study released on August 14 reports that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant cause of glacial melting in the Alps and Andes mountains. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The study, published in the journal Science, reveals that human emissions ... continue reading


NEW SPECIES: 'Graveyard' reveals 47 skeletons of new species of pterosaur Watch

Image of What separates the latest find from others of their species is that the pterosaur Caiuajara dobruskii had a large bony crest on the top of its head that changed from being small when it was young, to large and steep in adults.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A colony of previously unknown flying reptiles that lived around a desert lake in Brazil around 100 million years ago have been uncovered by scientists. The fossilized remains of at least 47 pterosaurs with wingspans ranging from two to eight feet, were ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter