via Inverse, 30 July 2019: Explaining the results of a new paper in PNAS about genetic mixing of modern humans in Asia with other (as yet unnamed) hominin species that appear to be extant in the region more than 50,000 years ago.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide report that it’s likely anatomically modern humans procreated with at least four other species of humans, thousands of years ago. These species included the relatively well-characterized Neanderthals and Denisovans — as well as two unnamed groups. So far, genetic traces of the latter mystery species have only been found in modern populations currently living in the maritime region of Southeast Asia, but scientists don’t know much about them.
“Island Southeast Asia was already a crowded place when what we call modern humans first reached the region just before 50,000 years ago,” says co-author João Teixeira, Ph.D. “At least three other archaic human groups appear to have occupied the area, and the ancestors of modern humans mixed with them before the archaic humans became extinct.