Sex Lives of Neanderthals Revealed Through New Bone Findings From Altai Mountains
Ancient excavations in Siberian cave Photo credits: Twitter/Jamie_Woodward_)

A new discovery in the field of ancient excavations have revealed some interesting things about ancient human civilizations. Researchers have discovered a whole new family tree in the Siberian cave in Altai mountains. Called the Denisova caves, the fossilised bones found there were called Denisovans, a group genetically different from the Neanderthals or humans that were existing on the planet at the same time. Now after years of research into these fossils, researchers have found some bone fragments belonging to humans. These bone fragments are said to belong to a female who lived almost 90,000 years ago. Skeletons Found at 10th Century Rajasthan Excavation Site Sent for Dating. 

Now as per the latest research, the researchers have been able to sequence the genome and made an interesting finding. As published in the journal Nature, the female is said to have a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. A geneticist, Svante Pääbo who led this research has said, "We then have very direct evidence – almost caught in the act, so to say – of mixing with each other." And this discovery of the first offspring of these two groups is 'too lucky to be true.' 560,000-Year-Old Tooth Discovered by a Teen Archaeologist in a French Cave. 

Scientists did have an idea that Denisovian and Neanderthals mated in the past but to find remains of the offspring suggests that the groups were too friendly with each other. Scientists are now peaking into the lives and reproduction from almost 90,000 years ago. It is said that the groups- Neanderthals, Denisovans, and humans probably ran into each other in the caves, as they took shelter from the rains.

But genetically Neanderthals and Denisovans were different, so the encounters between these 2 groups were still rare. Sharon Browning, a professor of biostatistics and a statistical geneticist said that sex between these groups was not so common, as the genes are too distinct from each other. She said, "There can't have been too many of these admixed individuals. So just being able to find this particular bone that is from this type of individual is pretty amazing."

The full study states that humans were also mating with both the groups. These findings reveal the earliest meetings between these three groups, how they met and mixed well with each other. The genes of modern humans to have Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in their genomes. So these findings reveal about ancient sex lives of humans as well.