First glimpse of Denisovans


The BBC link I posted yesterday on another thread has a nice photo of that reconstructed face:

Considering the paucity of Denisovan bones/teeth, I wonder if the YEC ministries will complain that the evidence is still “laughably limited.” (I assume they don’t yet accept the kind of DNA evidence described in the articles.)


Well it is pretty limited. Might be a valid objection.

Did you see the paper using DNA methylation patterns. This seems pretty novel technique and opens a whole new avenue to explore different morphologies.

Denisovans are an extinct group of humans whose morphology remains unknown. Here, we present a method for reconstructing skeletal morphology using DNA methylation patterns. Our method is based on linking unidirectional methylation changes to loss-of-function phenotypes. We tested performance by reconstructing Neanderthal and chimpanzee skeletal morphologies and obtained >85% precision in identifying divergent traits. We then applied this method to the Denisovan and offer a putative morphological profile. We suggest that Denisovans likely shared with Neanderthals traits such as an elongated face and a wide pelvis. We also identify Denisovan-derived changes, such as an increased dental arch and lateral cranial expansion. Our predictions match the only morphologically informative Denisovan bone to date, as well as the Xuchang skull, which was suggested by some to be a Denisovan. We conclude that DNA methylation can be used to reconstruct anatomical features, including some that do not survive in the fossil record.


I did not see this yet. Very interesting. Pretty impressive. Looks like a neanderthal!

Looks like us!

Yes. Mind-blowing. DNA methylation sounds like finding a treasure trove of Denisovan bones—but perhaps better.

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