The 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2019)

Session 9. Deciphering The Denisovans. Invited Podium Symposium. Chair: C. Eduardo Guerra Amorim Co-organizers: Serena Tucci, Princeton University

March 28, 2019 , CC Ballroom A Add to calendar

Nested in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia, there is a cave that revealed one of the most stunning scientific discoveries that have been made in recent years: the Denisovans. This elusive new archaic hominin species, distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans, is currently known only for its DNA extracted mostly from a terminal phalanx bone, probably from the left fifth digit ("pinky bone") of a girl who lived around 41,000 years ago. Her group and their descendants left very little behind. The sequencing of their genome in 2010, however, showed that substantial amounts of their DNA still persist today in modern human populations in Melanesia. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the excavation of this specimen, this symposium will bring together archaeologists, geneticists, and paleoanthropologists in order to expand and explore the most exciting findings made in the past 10 years related to this archaic hominin group. Furthermore, this interdisciplinary venue will also point out to the next steps involving the study of this species, the technological innovations that are enabling scientists to discover more about these archaic humans, the mystery involving their place in human evolution, their geographical range, their interactions with Neanderthals, and the legacy they left to modern humans. While many questions remain unanswered, there is one thing we can be sure about – Denisovans changed our paradigm about human evolution and how we understand our species. Thus, this symposium represents a timely opportunity to promote cooperation and discussion among researchers from different fields and strengthen the role our discipline will play in the following years in the study of archaic humans.

8:00 Technology overview and orientation
8:15 Add to calendar A parietal fragment from Denisova cave. Bence T. Viola, Philipp Gunz, Simon Neubauer, Viviane Slon, Maxim B. Kozlikin, Michael V. Shunkov, Matthias Meyer, Svante Pääbo, Anatoly P. Derevianko.
8:30 Add to calendar Placing the Denisovans in human evolution. Chris B. Stringer.
8:45 Add to calendar What do Denisovans look like? Looking into the Middle and Late Pleistocene hominin fossil record from Asia. Maria Martinon-Torres, Bermúdez de Castro José María, Xing Song, Wu Xiujie, Liu Wu.
9:00 Add to calendar Age estimates for hominin fossils and the onset of the Upper Palaeolithic at Denisova Cave. Thomas Higham, Katerina Douka, Viviane Slon, Zenobia Jacobs, Christopher Ramsey, Fabrizio Mafessoni, Maxim Kozlikin, Bo Li, Daniel Comeskey, Thibaut Deviese, Samantha Brown, Bence Viola, Michael Buckley, Matthias Meyer, Richard Roberts, Svante Paabo, Anatoly Derevianko, Michael Shunkov, Janet Kelso.
9:15 Add to calendar In search of the Denisovans: biomolecular ways for the identification of new human fossils in the Eurasian archaeological record. Katerina Douka, Samantha Brown, Tom Higham, Anatoly Derevianko, Michael Shunkov.
9:30 Add to calendar Archaic encounters: Retracing interactions between Neandertals and Denisovans. Viviane Slon.
9:45 Add to calendar Predation at Denisova cave during the Middle Paleolithic: a story of human and beasts. william rendu, Sergey Vasilyev, Maxim Kozlikin, Malvina Baumann, Mikhail Shunkov.
10:00 BREAK
10:30 Add to calendar Through introgressed DNA, a single genome contains the story of many populations. Benjamin Vernot.
10:45 Add to calendar Multiple deeply divergent Denisovan ancestries in Papuans. Guy S. Jacobs, Georgi Hudjashov, Saag Lauri, Kusuma Pradiptajati, Chelzie C. Darusallam, Daniel J. Lawson, Mondal Mayukh, Luca Pagani, François-Xavier Ricaut, Mark Stoneking, Mait Metspalu, Herawati Sudoyo, J Stephen Lansing, Murray P. Cox.
11:00 Add to calendar The landscape of Denisovan ancestry in the Americas. Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, Kelsey Witt-Dillon, Alyssa Funk, Lesly Lopez.
11:15 Discussant: John Hawkes