back to article World's OLDEST human DNA found in leg bone – but that's not the only boning going on...

New tests on human bones that were hidden in a Spanish cave for 400,000 years have revealed the oldest human DNA ever sequenced - and thrown boffins’ picture of early evolution into question. The Sima de los Huesos hominins lived approximately 400,000 years ago during the Middle Pleistocene Scientists from the Max Planck …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good picture.

    I saw those people on the subway a few weeks ago. Surprising that they could afford to hire a painter to do a group portrait.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Good picture.

      It looks more like a picture of Rafa Nadal.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another possibility

    The deceased was on holiday.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can't speak for you, but I know that I was created by a large plate of tomato-paste covered pasta. All hail His Noodly-Goodness.

      1. Irongut

        RAMEN!

    2. brainbone

      In science, "theory" doesn't mean what you think it means. Perhaps you're thinking of "hypothesis"?

      For evolution to have made it to "theory" means that it a very solid science indeed.

      1. wowfood

        So you're saying that for all these years, everyone has been lying to me? And rather than Darwins theory of evolution, it was in fact Darwins hypothesis of evolution?

        I need to go reevaluate my life

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > And rather than Darwins theory of evolution, it was in fact Darwins hypothesis of evolution?

          Darwin would have started out with a hypothesis, then gathered the evidence, tested it and came to the conclusion that the hypothesis was true. It then becomes a theory.

          Evolutionary theory has such a large body of independently corroborating evidence that it constitutes "fact" in the scientific sense, which again is probably not what most people would understand the meaning of the word to be.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            > Evolutionary theory ....

            Evolution is an observable process. It can be seen in the fossil record, it can be observed in, say, bacteria. It can even be controlled with, say, animal husbandry to cause new variations in a short time.

            The theories are explanations of the _causes_ of evolution. Darwin's theory was not that evolution happened, that was accepted, but that one cause was 'survival of the fittest'. Actually it was more non-survival of the less fit. Another theory is that of 'sexual selection'. Both are supported by evidence and have been tested by predicting outcomes. These are not exhaustive and there may be other causes alongside these two. Even Lamark's work has not been totally discounted.

            1. bep

              Bill Bailey would have your guts for garters

              I believe it was actually the other bloke who coined the term 'survival of the fittest'. Darwin preferred the term 'survival of the best adapted'.

              1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

                Re: Bill Bailey would have your guts for garters

                No, he clearly was saying something about "genetic algorithms and the short permanence of temporarily and locally bound acceptable solutions in the moving energy landscape of changing environmental exchange network dynamics", but his words were drowned out by the loud clanking of a large machine, akin to a mass of bronze gears, that he had, for some reason, assembled in his cellar.

            2. OldWarrior

              I particularly agree with your postulation of " non-survival of the less fit". There are vast areas of study that show that "Non-survival essential" traits causing significant species changes become not only passed down, but become "Genetically Dominant" such as bright feather colors in male birds, which leads to your next statement of Sexual Selection.

              Sexual Selection in humans was postulated and eventually proven in studies at the University of New Mexico Anthropology Department in the 90's. Part of the study of sexual selection dealt with certain distribution of facial features where symmetry was the overriding factor in "Attractiveness" of a face. My son was part of the research team and I have since seen references to that study in my readings.

              This by no means is the only feature that attracts humans to each other. The obvious things such as shared interests etc. are even overridden by subtle things like smell. (not artificial smells like perfumes, but the smell of sweat, hair bacteria and more).

              Though old and retired, I still wish I had studied more Anthropology instead of Medicine. My medical background may have been more lucrative, but I was always more interested in Humans as a species than as Patients.

          2. Grikath Silver badge

            the Origin

            On the Origin of Species was nothing more than a collection of hypotheses, which together form what was later accepted as the Theory of Evolution.

            I love people who try to bash Darwin and his masterpiece.... It's like saying Newton was wrong simply because he didn't think of Relativity along with his basic theories. Darwin, as well as Newton, worked within the framework of existing knowledge of their time, and any evaluation of worth and/or "correctness" of their discoveries should always take that into account. And as it is, both their discoveries required some really fancy brainfarting to get things right, they simply lacked the body of elemental knowledge we have nowadays. But then again "science" as we understand the process nowadays did not exist in their days. People who have actually read the Origin will have noticed Darwin still worked within the framework of Natural Philosophy, not "Science" to write his book. His "proof" for his hypothesis at the time still existed of empyrical observation of parallel processes ( nature versus human breeding pactices, and how they align in form and result ) and how those aligned with the newfangled and highly contentious hypothesis of a guy named Mendel* (and others who've fallen in obscurity nowadays).

            Evolution has become a Theory (in the modern sense) because the basic tenets have been proven through all the way down, after each new breakthrough in biology. From comparative morphology (started by Linnaeus way back when) up to the most modern understanding of molecular genetics, the principles of inheritance and selection have been proven true again and again, even though our understanding of how those two processes actually work have radically altered as our knowledge of them increases over time. In that respect it's become more than just a theory, we only need to find any evidence of extraterrestrial life that follows the same molecular basis as us, and it will become a Law of Nature.

            Darwin may have started with a hypothesis, but by now it's clear that he was the first to recognise and formalise a part of universal truth. That some nutters, waving a book about the exploits of $Deity, fail to grok the beauty and simplicity of it is a shame. There's just no pleasing some people.

            * Mendel , being a statistician, "fudged his numbers" by ignoring a statistically insignificant fraction of daisies that did not comply with his rules of inheritance. While mathematically correct, this remained on of the major criticisms of his work, until some smart cookies figured out this discrepancy might well mean that that weird substance called "DNA" could fit the bill for carrying our inheritable traits.

            It took a couple of decades to prove it, but the rest is, as they say, History.

            1. James Micallef Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Mendel , being a statistician....

              reminds me of....

              a king asked 3 of his wise advisers what the answer to 2 + 2 was

              the mathematician said "It is certainly 4"

              the scientist said "all my experiments have shown it to be 4"

              the statistician told him "you tell me what answer you want and I'll find a way to come up with it"

        2. Sarah Davis

          actually Wallace's theory

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All lies

    As any bible lover will tell you there is no such thing as evolution and the earth is only 6,000 years old.

    We'll ignore the fact the bible was written by MEN, who today would be placed on very strong meds for saying what they were saying and edited by other MEN who must have really hated women (or just liked other men).

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: All lies

      90% of even fundamentalist Christians, never mind the majority of more moderate Christians, would not claim that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All lies

        > 90% of even fundamentalist Christians, never mind the majority of more moderate Christians, would not claim that.

        Well thank "God" for science and critical thinking otherwise they most certainly would.

        Seriously though, although I like a good troll as much as the next guy, there is a serious point to keeping on the pressure. If us atheists don't keep it up, the superstitious *will* fight back with their authority and their willing ignorance and our descendants will not thank us for our laxity.

        The price of freedom is constant vigilance and the price of enlightenment is constant thinking.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ skelband

          " If us atheists don't keep it up, the superstitious *will* fight back with their authority and their willing ignorance and our descendants will not thank us for our laxity. The price of freedom is constant vigilance and the price of enlightenment is constant thinking."

          You seem pretty seriously infected with the smug and self-serving dogma that atheism will somehow produce a better world. That's YOUR ignorance. You could use some enlightenment yourself.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All lies

        The surveys I have seen (in the USA, my point of reference) disagrees with your statement. I say your statement adds credence to the statement that 80% of statistics are made up (and yes, I made up that stat {}:>)) ).

        If is funny that today's "God fearing Americans" would have run many of the founding fathers out of the country for their religious views.

        1. The last doughnut

          Re: All lies

          That's the same reason we ran them out of ours :-)

      3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        @JDX

        "90% of even fundamentalist Christians...would not claim that."

        You're right. But that's because fundamentalist Christians believe God took direct control of the Bible writers and made them write exactly the words He wanted. Or they argue that the "errors" introduced by later copyists were actually reversions.

        Disclaimer: these are real views expressed to me by IRL Christians when we sat down to thrash out the issues.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: @JDX

          > God retconning harder than a low-quality Hollywood scriptwriter on the quest for more money.

          Funamentalist people need to be given the utter contempt they deserve.

          1. proud2bgrumpy

            Re: @JDX

            "Funamentalist people need to be given the utter contempt they deserve."

            Yeah! All fun loving hypnotist clairvoyant telepaths deserve nothing but contempt

            (except Derren Brown who I look forward to seeing in April - tickets are rather pricey though at ~$45ea - so you'd better be good Derren, or expect some heckling - though as a Mentalist/clairvoyant you already know that)

      4. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: All lies (@JDX)

        Well, the OP did say bible lover. I assume he means in the *ahem* biblical sense.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: All lies

      "As any bible lover will tell you there is no such thing as evolution and the earth is only 6,000 years old."

      As if I'd believe anything from some dude with the pages of his Bible stuck together... Ick!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All lies

      As analysis of an ancient wine cellar in Palestine found recently many of the wine vessels from the biblical era contained additives such as resins with hallucinogenic properties, so they were probably not mad, just stoned out of their brains.

  5. Steve Knox

    @ACs (15:26 and "All Lies")

    Yawn. Trolling religion on a tech/science site is so Neanderthal.

    If you want to spark a conversation, try writing something interesting or clever.

    If you want to spark a controversy, try logging in to a religious site with your actual personal information and re-post your comments there.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: @ACs (15:26 and "All Lies")

      Given the new evidence, can you be absolutely sure it's Neandertal and not Denisovan trolling?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @ACs (15:26 and "All Lies")

      Not realizing that there are a large number of people out there that want to impose their religious views on society is what is so Neanderthal. It is never a bad thing to remember they are out there.

      Their success depends on rational minds ignoring they exist and giving them power by being silent.

      There are already to many countries where speaking out in contrast to the accepted religious beliefs can resolute in prison or execution.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ AC 23:01

        "There are already to many countries where speaking out in contrast to the accepted religious beliefs can resolute in prison or execution."

        So you're going to use Islamic nations to condemn Christians? That's a reach. And intellectually dishonest.

  6. Baron Ebaneezer Wanktrollop III

    So these guys have died out huh?

    So never been to Nottingham then?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. dssf

    Not New, Won't Stop

    All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

    What is the most basic article of faith?

    1. Irony Deficient

      What is the most basic article of faith?

      dssf, it’s cogito, ergo sum.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Not New, Won't Stop

      > What is the most basic article of faith?

      EARTH EXISTS AND WE WILL FIND IT!

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Sander van der Wal
    Angel

    Failed in what way, exactly?

    Is it the moustache, the way-too-rosy cheeks, or that excuse for a beard?

  10. Ian Rogers

    African or European?

    So it's not the picture of evolution that's been "thrown into question" but the migratory habits of your early coconut carrying Neanderthal...

    1. DuncanL

      Re: African or European?

      Denisovan?

      Well, I didn't vote for him.

      There's some lovely filth over here!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: African or European?

      > So it's not the picture of evolution that's been "thrown into question" but the migratory habits of your early coconut carrying Neanderthal...

      Yeah, that title did puzzle me somewhat.

  11. btrower

    Interesting, but changes little

    According to Ashley Montegue, The Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection is "the most thoroughly authenticated fact in the whole history of science."

    The 'Post Darwinian' refinements including the wonderful discoveries of genes and DNA help to explain particulars of mechanisms, but the Theory itself was entirely sound and whole when "On the Origin of Species" was first published around this time of year in 1859.

    I cannot say why this simple and elegant Theory is so badly misunderstood, but it is. It seems to me that Darwin's contemporaries, without the aid of genetics, understood evolution better than most people today.

    This article is about a refining discovery about a particular genetic history that interests us -- our own. This has no bearing one way or the other on the bedrock paradigm of Biology. There are more things we don't know by far than things we do know about the historical development of life on this planet. We do not have to know how a system of gases evolved in order to validate Thermodynamics. Were someone incorrect about the history of such a system it would say nothing at all about Thermodynamics. If you understand Thermodynamics, then you know that it is a logical imperative. The same is true of Evolution.

    It drives me nuts that Biological discoveries are framed in such a way that laymen might think it says something about the correctness of Evolution. At its heart, Evolution is essentially a tautology. It is correct by definition.

    Evolution, BTW, despite Darwin's own misgivings, says nothing at all about the existence of God either as a part of the holy trinity or as the deity in the more logically coherent Pastafarianism. Religious matters and Secular matters are orthogonal and incommensurate separate systems. Both are equally valid in their own right. Understanding the rules of the Universe as created by the Noodle in the Sky does not speak one way or the other to whether or not the FSM (or God, if you prefer) created it. The argument that the FSM does not exist from parsimony or "Occam's Razor" is a naive logical positivist point of view that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the world. For atheists that just cannot let go, consider the sanctity of belief in the Saucy Master as a political necessity to prevent the total domination of the state. The personal relationship between a person and their deity is sacrosanct even in the event that, against all evidence to the contrary, they do not even believe in that deity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting, but changes little

      > The argument that the FSM does not exist from parsimony or "Occam's Razor" is a naive logical positivist point of view that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the world.

      Well not really.

      The argument that a particular deity exists, has a particular documented history and has a particular nature is unlikely because there are an infinite number of other possibilities that are just as likely, included the version where there is no God.

      And yes, you could argue that it is a personal experience and nobody's business but their own, but it doesn't make it true.

      So, if we were to assume that a deity did exist, which one is it? The Christian God? Allah? Vishnu? They can't all be right. As our "saviour", the "great Dawkins" said, you are atheistic about all of the other Gods but this one: I just go one God further.

      > At its heart, Evolution is essentially a tautology. It is correct by definition.

      I'm not sure what you mean here. Evolution is probably correct because of the enormous amount of corroborating evidence supporting it. However, the "fact" of evolution is far from being a tautology if you mean it in the mathematical or logical sense. That just doesn't make any sense.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Interesting, but changes little

        > So, if we were to assume that a deity did exist, which one is it? The Christian God? Allah? Vishnu? They can't all be right.

        When you ask the wrong question then the answer is irrelevant.

        Yes they could all have existed. The term 'God' has been applied to people in our time: Hirohito was a God until the allies made him stop. Haile Selassie was, and still is, the God of the Rastafarians. Caesars became Gods when they died, Pharaohs were Gods. I have heard people say (on documentary films) that (the name not to be mentioned) and Obama were Gods, or at least god-like.

        There is no reason that Jehovah. the God of the Jews, was not a real person: king, chief, warlord or whatever (or possibly a dynasty of several successive 'lords'); that was elevated to the status of a God. The same would be true of many of the other 'Gods'. Many of those ancient Gods fell into disuse as deities as they were replaced. With the Jews, though, they had a covenant, a contract, between the people and Jehovah that granted them their promised land. If he 'died' or fell into disuse then the contract was voided. Consequently they kept him as their deity so that they could claim a home.

        It is difficult to decide what is meant by "The Christian God". This was supposed to be finally determined by the First Council of Nicaea, but wasn't and still isn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Richard Plinston

          Wow Richard, I really don't know where to start with this response.

          > When you ask the wrong question then the answer is irrelevant.

          The Gods that are revered in religions as deities may well have been inspired by real people and the cargo cults document this phenomenon quite well. But if they were real people, I see no problem in admiring those people for what they are and what they do. But worship them as all powerful deities? I'm not sure what logic there is in that. If you are questioning the probable non-existence of deist or theist Gods, substituting them for real people that are no Gods doesn't seem to answer anything. For instance, many believe that Jesus Christ was probably a real historical figure. It is certainly possible. He might have been the son of God, or he might have been a time traveller bluffing his way with technology. Or he might have been a powerful leader revered and elevated to deity status and people often do. Or he might be just a story. For such a supposedly revolutionary figure, apart from the Bible, there is almost no other mention in recorded history of him. (And yes there is a lot of recorded history from the time from various sources)

          I ask no question. I suggest that people should believe what they see and hear all around them. They should think logically and believe what makes sense for them. That involves listening and thinking deeply.

          Unfortunately most deist and theist religions involve trust in a single historical source of dubious record along with the suspension of any comparison with what they experience and perceive in the present day. Not only that, people in different religious cultures have an entirely different view of what that truth is, the only apparent difference being their cultural up-bringing. Since those world views are entirely at odds with each other only one can actually be right. Therefore, why would we expect that any one is right with such a flimsy basis for any of them?

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: @Richard Plinston

            > substituting them for real people that are no Gods doesn't seem to answer anything.

            Yes it does. You appear to think that the term 'God' means, and must irretrievably mean: 'an actual supernatural omnipotent extraterrestrial being'. And thus Hirohito, when he was called a Shinto God, was being said to be an actual supernatural ... being, that returned to being only a human when the allies told him to.

            Some refer to the Christian God (whatever they mean by that as 'Lord'. In London there is a House full of Lords - are they 'actual supernatural ...' too?

            If, however, we were to use the term God as 'a leader or hero elevated to that of a deity with [non-existing] supernatural powers', then that substitution does answer [almost] everything.

            > But worship them as all powerful deities? I'm not sure what logic there is in that.

            I see no logic in that either, but apparently that doesn't deter others. Rastafarians hold that Haile Selassie (who was born Ras Tafari*) is their God, Shintos worshiped Hirohito, I am sure there are many other examples that are current.

            > He might have been the son of God,

            He might have been claiming that he was descended from the pre-Roman line of Kings, especially David. However, the term 'father' is also used for a priest or a teacher. Saying 'the Lord is my father' does not necessarily mean paternity, it may mean 'he was my teacher'.

            * Did I mention that my Grandfather was presented a Lion skin cape by Ras Tafari in Aden in 1922?

    2. John 156
      Alien

      Re: Interesting, but changes little

      "It seems to me that Darwin's contemporaries, without the aid of genetics, understood evolution better than most people today."

      The people who misunderstand it today are those whose forebears were too busy polishing the silver in the butler's pantry to misunderstand what Darwin's theory proposed.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These published reports, fantastic though they are, invariably follow a set pattern. Reveal unexpected information, therefore justifying expense and time etc. Then leave new, unanswered questions, creating the need for more research (more time, money, lager for the researchers etc.). I've no problem with this approach, I'm sure it's worked for years; science blended with job preservation. We all do it, in our own way.

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Job preservation vs curiosity

      You know when a young child finds out some new, interesting fact and asks "Why, Daddy?" And so you find a way to answer that question in a satisfying way but in doing so, of course, you are introducing yet another new fact to the child and, once again, "Why, Daddy?" comes round again. The child isn't trying to justify the right to be allowed to ask more questions but simply that the new facts need explaining also.

      That's natural curiosity which is at the absolute heart of science. The field of Anthropology, being All About Us, adds a narcissistic boost to that curiosity so we're even more likely to ask that one last "Why?"

      I don't think they're deliberately not investigating fully in order to come back and do it again on another field research grant.

  13. Avatar of They
    Meh

    Oh come on Reg, y

    You are just giving religious trolls a reason to post. It doesn't in any way throw evolution into doubt. It throws time lines out, maybe.

    A bad headline to catch our eye.

    It actually proves that there could be another human species (always possible) or it could prove they met earlier than had been believed (possible) but basically proves humans were doing rude things 400000 years ago, backing up previous ideas of evolution through humanoid species doing things years ago.

    Thus supporting the evolution theory. (Using the scientific definition of the word)

    ...they do however continue to disprove the bible.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Oh come on Reg, y

      > Thus supporting the evolution theory. (Using the scientific definition of the word)

      "evolution theory" is not a thing. It is like saying that "falling down supports the gravity theory". Gravity is observable, it exists, the theories are about _how_ it works.

      Evolution is observable, it exists, the theories are about _how_ it works.

      The various '[my]goddunnit' hypotheses, well stories really, were early attempts at an explanation. There were dozens of very different ones.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Oh come on Reg, y

        "falling down supports the gravity theory".

        For the purposes of this post, I am a platonist. Therefore I am ontologically comitted to "gravity theory" (LQG, since you ask) as a real thing that exists; just as I am committed to numbers existing. So "falling down" does indeed support the former belief. :-P

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh come on Reg, y

        > "evolution theory" is not a thing. It is like saying that "falling down supports the gravity theory". Gravity is observable, it exists, the theories are about _how_ it works.

        Gravity is a thing inasmuch as it is an effect.

        Newton described gravity mathematically and that mathematical explanation is a theory in itself. Your argument that since he doesn't describe the underlying quantum mechanism it is not a theory doesn't hold water because it is innately impossible to describe something at an absolutely fundamentally basic level since such a level doesn't exist as far as we know. You can always go deeper. Newton didn't discover gravity. People have know for thousands of years that apples fall to the ground. He discovered and described something about the nature of gravity and this is sufficient to call a theory.

        It's like asking someone to describe the fundamentals of the English language to an English speaker without using the English language. Does a dictionary describe the English language? Yes, but paradoxically, you need to understand English to understand the dictionary.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Oh come on Reg, y

          > Your argument that since he doesn't describe the underlying quantum mechanism it is not a theory ...

          I am not sure where you got that from at all. If you want to criticise me than do so based on what I write and not on your illogical misreadings. I made no such argument.

          Newton did describe _how_ gravity works in terms of mass and distance within the limits of our 'normal' environment. That it is called a 'law' doesn't distract from this being a well established theory.

  14. Philippe

    Ok but does it explain Francois Hollande?

    Because personally I am still puzzled by it.

  15. Joe User

    One possibility

    It’s already known that there was some interbreeding between the groups, but the new results beg the question of how an early Spanish human ended up with Siberian DNA.

    Traveling salesmen?

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: One possibility

      Ah... but that would mean that our Neanderthal cousins must have had Trade. To make that possible, a sense of relative worth, a language (or more languages even) that made it possible to communicate that worth, regular hangouts so that people could actually *find* each other to trade are needed, which means a rather extensive knowledge about the world outside the Cave.... Which would mean they and their culture were much more sophisticated than even the most romantic views are giving them credit for. This, of course, cannot be because Everyone Knows Neanderthals were grunting brutes with the intellectual capacity of someone with Down Syndrome, at best.**

      It's really not surprising, given that some of the flint artifacts found in Neanderthal deposits come from a long way away, in just that general Siberian direction. And unless flint in that day and age had the magical property of travelling upriver and crossing dry plains and mountain ranges, someone must have carried it from A to B.

      And of course, having travelled countless miles to get to B, presented with something warm and cuddly and the eye of Daddy on his new special rocks, chastity was preserved with pristine precision... Oh wait.. that hasn't worked since we and the chimps shared a common ancestor...

      ** The 19th C. Romantics have a lot to answer for....

  16. davcefai

    The meaning of "Theory"

    My father used to say of evolution "After all, it's only a theory".

    To many people theory does not even mean "hypothesis", more "wild guess".

    The best reply I've found to people who pick on "theory" is "So music probably doesn't exist does it? We study the theory of music!"

    1. Ian Rogers

      Re: The meaning of "Theory"

      Likewise, as Tim Minchin says: Gravity is also explained by a scientific theory. Now please leave your house from an upstairs window.

  17. HughG

    Monkey Bones

    Notice that the article doesn't mention if the sample had 23 sets of chromosomes like humans.More monkey bones I guess.

    1. Martin Budden
      Boffin

      Re: Monkey Bones

      What the article does say, quite specifically, is that they sequenced mitochondrial DNA. This is not part of the 23 sets of chromosomes you are thinking of, those ones are found in the cell nucleus. Mitochondrial DNA is a separate chromosome of its own found in each of the cell's mitochondria. Human mitochondrial DNA only has 37 genes (about 16,600 base pairs) but that is more than enough to distinguish human from monkey.

      Plus, the bones look like human bones. They don't look like monkey bones.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    El Reg Staff Outing?

    How did that picture slip in?

  19. Kalmairn
    Trollface

    Evolution? What?

    These 400,000 year old fossils prove that human evolution did not happen, therefore we can only assume we were created 6000 years ago.. We'll get Texas started on updating American textbooks right away.

    Seriously. One discovery does not a theory break. The beauty of the world we love is that its life ebbs and flows. Let's put away our Jump to Conclusions mat and keep on keeping on the science.

  20. Gray Ham

    Er ...

    I don't see how this discovery "throws evolution into doubt" ... although it may change the picture slightly, it appears to be an addition to the data, indeed tending to confirm rather than contradict the theory. However, may change the picture of early human society somewhat - that would be an interesting line to follow up.

  21. Rombizio

    Unfortunate title

    "400,000-yr-old ancestral fling throws evolution into doubt"

    No it doesn't. I expected more from El Reg. This title is misleading, irresponsible and completely inaccurate. The situation changes the way scientists will look into the current hypothesis for early human migrations but from that to make the theory of evolution doubtful is a long shot. VERY LONG SHOT.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Unfortunate title

      Yes and no, that is part of the fun reading El Reg. Never trust the title, it is not meant to be trusted. As for Gods, we have created a large number of them during our history, they all have common features. The most "selfish" one is the Christian guy who was created to look like us, surprise, surprise. To find a reason for all those Gods, and there must be one, we have to study society and our brains.

  22. Michael E. Stora, Ph.D,

    Hominid but Human?

    I thought Cro-Magnon plus a certain Je ne sais quois (some aspect of our better or worse nature) equaled "Human" and the others were "Hominids". We can probably find some relief in the fact that the question is academic. Not sure were they all went but I didn't kill them (or the non-Je ne sais quois Cro-Magnons) and neither did you.

  23. solaries
    Alien

    The Long Winding Road

    Our origins get bushier the more we search for them. I just wondering what new surprises await us in the future. As for Denisvan what would have prevented them from migrating to Iberian peninsular by just walking there as the Neanderthals migrating to Siberia the same way.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This article was a pleasant surprise.

    I have to admit my first thought when I saw the headline '... throws evolution into doubt' was 'Oh for f***'s sake, Lewis...'

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