Backrounds by Ethan Nan
This is my interpretation of the young woman “Denny” who had both Neanderthal-Denisovan ancestry. By taking a genome analysis from the specimen’s mitochondrial DNA on a single bone fragment recovered from the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Russia, palaeogeneticists Viviane Slon and Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary found that she had 40 percent Denisovan genes from her dad and 40 percent Neanderthal genes from her mom. A first generation hybrid!
This human was at the age of maturity but there are two schools of thought about adolescence in Neanderthals, one being that the Neanderthal developed at a quicker rate then modern Homo sapiens, and the other being is that they developed same as rate as Homo sapiens. Either way, she was at the age of maturity (child-bearing). Although I don’t know if there have been any studies about adolescence in Denisovans. I also don’t know the skin color of a Denisovan but I suspect that with the Neanderthal ancestry that at least she had some red hair?
Recent studies of Neanderthals point to speculation that women and men shared hunting responsibilities. Which makes me wonder about the rights of passage of Denisovan-Neanderthal boys versus young girls. Like a modern day bar mitzvah-bat mitzvah which traditionally happens at age 13. Which is somewhat consistent across modern Homo sapiens cultures. Was she a hunter? Or was she kept in cave for an extended time during her menstruation. Maybe even the Denisova Cave where she was found? This is fascinating to me. Was it a patriarchal or a matriarchal based society? What were the hunting culture expectations between boys and girls. What were the rites of passage for Neanderthals men and women? But I digress.😉
I based this model on famous skull, Gibraltar 1 with the assumption that, she was mature but she wasn’t fully adult in her facial features-like a modern 13 old-girl.
The shocking discovery that "Cheddar Man" who was found 100 years ago previously assumed to be light-skinned (like the people in modern day Britain) was actually dark-skinned and blue-eyed! This is truly puzzling but at the same time it's not because lighter pigment came on the scene only 6000 years ago.
This is my interpretation of Cheddar Man at 35. Thanks thanks to Kennis brothers and Chris Stringer for this ground breaking research. Science continues to amaze me!
Cheddar Man's remains had been unearthed 115 years ago in Gough's Cave, located in Somerset's Cheddar Gorge. Subsequent examination has shown that the man was short by today's standards - about 5ft 5in - and probably died in his early 20s.
Prof Chris Stringer, the museum's research leader in human origins, said: "I've been studying the skeleton of Cheddar Man for about 40 years
"So to come face-to-face with what this guy could have looked like - and that striking combination of the hair, the face, the eye colour and that dark skin: something a few years ago we couldn't have imagined and yet that's what the scientific data show."