DNA evidence is changing the field of paleoanthropology. Genomes have been recovered from Neandertals and from a previously unknown archaic human population represented at Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains. Both populations contributed to the ancestry of living human populations; Neandertals account for between 1% and 4% of the ancestry of people outside sub-Saharan Africa, and Denisovans contribute from 1% to 6% of the ancestry of people in island Southeast Asia and Oceania. These genomes lend new detail about the dynamics of Neandertal populations and help us to understand the diversity of the Middle Pleistocene ancestors of late archaic and modern humans worldwide. Further analyses have begun to uncover details about the phenotypes of archaic peoples and their contribution to the biology of recent humans. These insights have included new information about pigmentation, immunity, and the brain.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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