Widespread Denisovan ancestry in Island Southeast Asia but no evidence of substantial super-archaic hominin admixture

João C. Teixeira*, Guy S. Jacobs, Chris Stringer, Jonathan Tuke, Georgi Hudjashov, Gludhug A. Purnomo, Herawati Sudoyo, Murray P. Cox, Raymond Tobler, Chris S.M. Turney, Alan Cooper, Kristofer M. Helgen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The hominin fossil record of Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) indicates that at least two endemic ‘super-archaic’ species—Homo luzonensis and H. floresiensis—were present around the time anatomically modern humans arrived in the region >50,000 years ago. Intriguingly, contemporary human populations across ISEA carry distinct genomic traces of ancient interbreeding events with Denisovans—a separate hominin lineage that currently lacks a fossil record in ISEA. To query this apparent disparity between fossil and genetic evidence, we performed a comprehensive search for super-archaic introgression in >400 modern human genomes, including >200 from ISEA. Our results corroborate widespread Denisovan ancestry in ISEA populations, but fail to detect any substantial super-archaic admixture signals compatible with the endemic fossil record of ISEA. We discuss the implications of our findings for the understanding of hominin history in ISEA, including future research directions that might help to unlock more details about the prehistory of the enigmatic Denisovans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

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