Researchers have been surprised by the traces of a ghost population of humans that lived in Africa approximately 500,000 years ago. These traces have been observed in the genes of modern humans, and they were found when genomes from West African populations were analyzed. A significant amount of their DNA can be linked to the elusive ancestors.
It is theorized that the ancestors of the modern West Africans interacted with the unknown race of archaic humans in a fashion similar to the way in which Europeans mingled with the Neanderthals.
In the past, the world featured a large number of human species and subspecies. No one should be surprised that mating took place when one population ran into another one, which led to impressive genetic structures. Previous research has shown that modern Europeans carry a few Neanderthal genes during select communities from Oceania feature genes from the Denisovans.
“Ghost Population” Traces Found In Ancient Human Genome, Says The New Study
Some data inferred that the unknown human population might have been present in Africa in the past, but the recent discovery is the conclusive form proof that confirms this theory. The team of researchers collected 405 genomes for the study. They were recovered from four West African populations, and advanced methods allowed the scientists to scour the genes in an attempt to find interbreeding cases that may have looked in the past.
Several sequences stood out in comparison to other modern human genes, and they were isolated for further research. The interesting genes were then compared with gens found in Neanderthals and Denisovans, allowing researchers to conclude that they come from a group of archaic humans.
Further tests show that they can represent up to 19% of the genetic ancestry found in the genomes. More information is required by the researchers to believe that the ghost population descends from the ancestors of Neanderthals. The study was published in a scientific journal.