The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)


Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestors interbred with a distantly-related hominin

ALAN R. ROGERS, NATHAN S. HARRIS and ALAN A. ACHENBACH.

Anthropology, University of Utah

April 16, 2020 9:00AM, Diamond 3 Add to calendar

Previous research has shown that modern Eurasians interbred with their Neanderthal and Denisovan predecessors. We show here that hundreds of thousands of years earlier, the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with their own Eurasian predecessors--members of a "superarchaic" population that separated from other humans about 2 mya. The superarchaic population was large, with an effective size between 20 and 50 thousand individuals. We confirm previous findings that: (1) Denisovans also interbred with superarchaics, (2) Neanderthals and Denisovans separated early in the middle Pleistocene, (3) their ancestors endured a bottleneck of population size, and (4) the Neanderthal population was large at first but then declined in size. We provide qualified support for the view that (5) Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of modern humans.

This work was supported by NSF BCS 1638840 (ARR), NSF GRF 1747505 (AAA), and the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of Utah (ARR).


Slides/Poster (pdf)