New research has revealed fascinating details about Aboriginal Australians and Pacific Islanders, who according to experts, carry genetic material of an unknown human species.
The new research suggests people from Papua New Guinea and northeast Australia have traces of DNA belonging to an unidentified, extinct human species.
Apparently, there is still much that geneticists and scientists do not understand about this crucial moment in human history, and it seems that research on the subject is raising more questions than answers.
In 2016, researchers at Harvard Medical School published the findings of a comprehensive study of the human genome of all areas of the world and discovered something astounding about the Australian aboriginal population.
They appear to have genetic markers that indicate they are descendants of a yet unidentified human species.
“We’re missing a population, or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” Ryan Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas, told Tina Hesman Saey at Science News.
Bohlender and his colleagues have been researching the amount of extinct hominid DNA that modern humans still carry today. To the surprise of many, they say they’ve found discrepancies in previous studies that suggest our mingling with Neanderthals and Denisovans isn’t the entire evolutionary story.
It’s believed that between 100,000 and 60,000 years ago, our ancestors migrated out of Africa, making contact with other hominid species inhabiting the Eurasian landmass. Experts believe that this contact left a mark on our species that is still present today.
“Our main goal is to understand how our race got to the point where it is, but in order to do that, we must first study the DNA of the ancient tribes,” explained Mallick Swapan, leading scientist of the study, and an expert who has been studying the origins of the human genome for most of his career.
He explained that the new study gathered the genetic data of 142 different human populations scattered around the world that was underrepresented in large-scale studies so far.