via Current Biology, 12 August 2021: A new paper by Larena et al. reveals that the Philippine Ayta Magbukon people have a high level of Denisovan ancestry, pointing to the possibility of an Islander Denisovan group present in the Philippines before modern humans.
The lead research was responsible for an earlier genomics paper showing multiple migrations of people into the Philippines over the last 50,000 years, but was later called out for not properly obtaining the full ethics clearances from local authorities. As far as I can tell, this issue has not been fully resolved.
Multiple lines of evidence show that modern humans interbred with archaic Denisovans. Here, we report an account of shared demographic history between Australasians and Denisovans distinctively in Island Southeast Asia. Our analyses are based on ∼2.3 million genotypes from 118 ethnic groups of the Philippines, including 25 diverse self-identified Negrito populations, along with high-coverage genomes of Australopapuans and Ayta Magbukon Negritos. We show that Ayta Magbukon possess the highest level of Denisovan ancestry in the world—∼30%–40% greater than that of Australians and Papuans—consistent with an independent admixture event into Negritos from Denisovans. Together with the recently described Homo luzonensis, we suggest that there were multiple archaic species that inhabited the Philippines prior to the arrival of modern humans and that these archaic groups may have been genetically related. Altogether, our findings unveil a complex intertwined history of modern and archaic humans in the Asia-Pacific region, where distinct Islander Denisovan populations differentially admixed with incoming Australasians across multiple locations and at various points in time.
- People in the Philippines have the most Denisovan DNA | Cell Press, 12 August 2021
- Philippine Ayta people have the most Denisovan DNA, study finds | Science Daily, 12 August 2021
- Ethnic Group in the Philippines Have Highest Level of Denisovan DNA in the World | Technology Networks, 12 August 2021
- Indigenous people in the Philippines have the highest level of DNA from our ancient ancestors the Denisovans | Daily Mail, 12 August 2021
- Scientists Have Discovered a Hotspot of Denisovan Ancestors | Gizmodo, 13 August 2021
- Indigenous Group In The Philippines Has Most Denisovan DNA in the World | IFLScience, 13 August 2021
- Indigenous Filipino Group Has Highest Known Denisovan Ancestry | The Scientist, 13 August 2021
- Indigenous Group in Philippines Has Highest Denisovan Ancestry in the World | Haaretz, 15 August 2021
- One Living People Today Show More Traces of The Mysterious Denisovans Than Any Others | Science Alert, 16 August 2021
- Philippines’ Indigenous Ayta Carry Most Denisovan Ancestry | Asian Scientist, 18 August 2021
- Swedish-Filipino study makes new discovery on mysterious early human race | ScandAsia, 19 August 2021
- Philippines’ Ayta found to have world’s highest percentage of Denisovan ancestry | Philippine Star, 20 August 2021