SHOCK CLAIM: Did extinct Siberian cave dwellers discover AUSTRALIA?
Australia may have been discovered by an extinct human species called Denisovans
The archaic people are known to have lived in Altai Mountains of southern Russia yet their DNA shows up in the aboriginal people of Australia and the Melanesians of Papua New Guinea to a far greater extent than in any other modern-day populations worldwide.
Professor Richard “Bert” Roberts, the director of the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong, told gazeta.ru in Russia: “To me personally the most interesting question is how four per cent of Denisovan’ DNA got into the Aboriginal people?
“Look where Australia is, and where Altai is. How is it possible?”
It was essential to “get to the bottom of what happened regarding human evolution in Altai”, he said, urging “meticulous dating of all finds”.
The Denisovans first identified in 2008 as being a distinct human branch to Neanderthals and homo sapiens, although there was crossbreeding between all three.
Tiny fragments of their remains – including a pinky finger – were found in the world famous Denisova cave in the Altai region of southern Russia, the only place they have so far been discovered, some 5,200 miles from Australia which was first populated around 65,000 years ago.
Professor Richard Roberts has called for closer scrutiny after the evidence was found
Look where Australia is, and where Altai is. How is it possible?
Extraordinary examples of modern-looking jewellery made by the Denisovans at least 50,000 years ago but suspected by scientists to be older – unearthed in this cave – show their technological skills as being far advanced of Home sapiens or Neanderthals at the time.
A stunning green-hued chlorite bracelet, a marble ring, and beads from an ostrich eggshell necklace, highlighted by The Siberian Times are all Denisovan handiwork, say Russian experts
“The distance from the only currently known home of the Denisovans in Altai region to the nearest point of Australia is roughly akin to the length of the Trans-Siberian railway, and yet it is looking increasingly likely that these ancient species of humanoids somehow made this epic journey deep in pre-history,” reported the website, citing scientists.
The archaic people are known to have lived in Altai Mountains of southern Russia
In a separate interview, Prof Roberts – who is closely involved in dating finds in the Denisovan cave and other ancient Siberian sites – said it could not be ruled out that Denisovans were the first to Australia.
“We know that Aboriginal people in Australia contain both Neanderthal DNA, as do you and I, we have Neanderthal DNA, but neither you nor I have Denisovan DNA, which is another group of people actually the home base, as it were, up in Siberia, Denisova Cave in southern Siberia in Russia,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this year.
“But it’s miraculously in Aboriginal people at the present day in much greater quantities than any other people around the world.
“How did it get into Aboriginal people?
“That’s still very much a moot point and we’re not sure.
“Did Denisovan people themselves make it across Wallace’s Line, a big biogeographic boundary separating Asia from Australasia?
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“We don’t know.
“These are very much still questions that we want to get a handle on, so who were the first people into Australia?
“We still think it’s modern humans but perhaps it might have been Denisovans. It’s a question mark still hanging there.”
Whoever made it would have had to navigate treacherous crossings from Asia to Australasia – even though the sea distances were closer then because ocean levels were some 360 ft lower due to the Ice Age.
An earlier Science opinion article has also suggested Denisovans could have reached Australia.
“In mainland Asia, neither ancient human specimens, nor geographically isolated modern Indigenous populations have Denisovan DNA of any note, indicating that there has never been a genetic signal of Denisovan interbreeding in the area,” said co-author Professor Cooper, the director of the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.
The Denisovans first identified as being a distinct human branch to Neanderthals and homo sapiens
“The only place where such a genetic signal exists appears to be in areas east of Wallace’s Line and that is where we think interbreeding took place – even though it means that the Denisovans must have somehow made that marine crossing.”
Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum in the UK, added: “Knowing that the Denisovans spread beyond this significant sea barrier opens up all sorts of questions about the behaviours and capabilities of this group, and how far they could have spread.”
For him “the key questions now are where and when the ancestors of current humans, who were on their way to colonise New Guinea and Australia around 50,000 years ago, met and interacted with the Denisovans.
“Intriguingly, the genetic data suggest that male Denisovans interbred with modern human females, indicating the potential nature of the interactions as small numbers of modern humans first crossed Wallace’s Line and entered Denisovan territory.”
Modern-looking jewellery made by the Denisovans at least 50,000 years ago
Separate studies suggest that the ability of Tibetans to withstand the effects of hypoxia in low-oxygen environments is linked to a gene absent in Neaderthals but present in Denisovans.
Scientists from Russia, the UK and Australia are currently examining whether items “made by Denisovans” in the Altai cave are even older than first understood.
Among these are the world’s oldest needle, and the bracelet which has a hole made by a drilling and rasping, previously thought to be a technological advance some 12,000 years ago in the Neolithic era, and not earlier.
“The bracelet is stunning – in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,” said Professor Anatoly Derevyanko, former director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, in Novosibirsk.
“It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece. I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments,” he said.
His successor Professor Mikhail Shunkov has suggested that the long-extinct Denisovans were significantly more advanced than Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, which leads to the question of whether their technological superiority helped them become the first to Australia.