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I for one welcome our new Denisovan underlords
December 23, 2010 5:05 AM   Subscribe

A previously unknown kind of human—the Denisovans—likely roamed Asia for thousands of years, probably interbreeding occasionally with humans like you and me, according to a new genetic study. More.
posted by twoleftfeet (30 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
likely roamed Asia for thousands of year

Meanderthals.
posted by pracowity at 5:50 AM on December 23, 2010 [52 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the Denisovans live next door to me. Edna Denisovan came over to borrow a cup of flour a few nights ago, and Clark is always working on his car during the warmer months.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:50 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't know they were called Dennis.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:50 AM on December 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, you didn't bother to find out, did you?
posted by The Confessor at 5:52 AM on December 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


These would be a subspecies if it was any other animal. But for humans they are very anxious to fence off all modern humans from everything else and everyone wants to discover their own species, so this is what we get. If they interbred and created fetile offspring, these are all subspecies. The huffpo article on this talks more about the "is this a new species?" aspect of this.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:55 AM on December 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


What I object to is your automatically treating me as an inferior.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:07 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


'nterbreeding occasionally with humans like you and me' - perhaps like you.... ;)
posted by zeoslap at 6:13 AM on December 23, 2010


I recently read that the human genome of peoples that live outside of Africa comprised of up to 4% Neanderthal DNA so this interbreeding with other (sub)species appears to be not uncommon.
posted by zeoslap at 6:18 AM on December 23, 2010


My studies would indicate that they were originally from Dennis, Cape Cod, Ma., and the Neanderthals, living in P-Town, Cape Cod, were, back then, well known for screwing any and all things, unlike humans males today, who are reserved, sophisticated, and discriminating in their sex lives.
posted by Postroad at 6:21 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I DID NOT INTERBREED WITH THAT HUMAN!
posted by iamkimiam at 6:28 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Denisovans the Menacevans.
posted by bwg at 6:32 AM on December 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Denisovans sounds like something out of The Matrix.
posted by liza at 6:41 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


and they all spoke like Elmer Fudd...
posted by ennui.bz at 6:50 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once you go Denisovan, baby, you never go back...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:37 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


If they interbred and created fetile offspring, these are all subspecies

I won't argue the 'real' definition of species, because taxonomy is a tool rather than a thing (there is nothing 'wrong' with how you want to look at it), but I can argue that this is not the standard scientific definition or understanding of species. All kinds of distantly related species can create fertile offspring. When you have two morphologically distinct populations that have diverged for hundreds of thousands of years, and signs they don't normally interbreed, they are treated as separate species like this. This really isn't a case of humans being treated exceptionally.
posted by dgaicun at 8:05 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I didn't know they were called Dennis.

It was a teenaged girl: more like Denise.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:15 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"New humans had huge teeth"

They were Dentistovans. They invented the wheel and drove around doing dental work. When the Cro-Magnons arrived with their little molars, the Dentistovans couldn't make ends meet. They had their caves foreclosed and they died.
posted by storybored at 8:54 AM on December 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hmm, a lot of people seem to think the Denisovans were the progenitors of Armenians and spell it Denisovians.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 9:28 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like this story. Based on a wisdom tooth and a piece of a girl's pinky finger found in a cave in Siberia, we have discovered an entire new group of hominins.
posted by pracowity at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


All kinds of distantly related species can create fertile offspring. When you have two morphologically distinct populations that have diverged for hundreds of thousands of years, and signs they don't normally interbreed, they are treated as separate species like this. This really isn't a case of humans being treated exceptionally.

By that definition Zulu, Incas, Siberians, and Indonesians would be four distinct species, at least prior to about 500 years ago. We treat humans very exceptionally in terms of taxonomy.
posted by keratacon at 11:13 AM on December 23, 2010


Ah yes. Remember them well; they were famous for the automatic gainsaying of any statement the Neanderthals made. They got into it tooth and nail; pity really.
posted by Twang at 11:15 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Denisovan DNA is being compared to the DNA of just one Neanderthal.

Who is to say that what we think are Neanderthals actually are a bunch of separate species (or whatever) that have been lumped together under "they all look the same to me".
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:21 AM on December 23, 2010


ZenMasterThis: What I object to is your automatically treating me as an inferior.

Well, I am Homo Sapiens...
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:27 AM on December 23, 2010


A previously unknown kind of human—the Conservatives—likely roamed the UK for thousands of years, probably interbreeding occasionally with humans like you and me, according to a new genetic study. That explains why we can't quite bring ourselves to get rid of the monarchy, public shools, iniquitous class division, snobbery, elitism, inherent discrimination and all the rest of what goes to make the "great" in Great Britain - inequality is hard-wired in the genes. Whew, that's ok then.
posted by gallus at 11:42 AM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh snap, Casshern was right!!!!!!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:48 AM on December 23, 2010


I didn't know they were called Dennis

"Ooh Dennis (be-do)
I'm in love with you-ooo-ooo (be-do)"

I bet Debbie Harry had no fucking idea about the true origins of this obscure "French" song (yeah, right......).
posted by gallus at 11:53 AM on December 23, 2010


By that definition Zulu, Incas, Siberians, and Indonesians would be four distinct species, at least prior to about 500 years ago. We treat humans very exceptionally in terms of taxonomy.

These groups have not been separated for hundreds of thousands of years, breed naturally in overlapping range, and mainly differ in relatively minor appearance traits (lip thickness, skin color, epicanthic fold, etc). Some biologists up until the time of Darwin did argue that they were separate species, but the general view was always that were they racial varieties of man. If we treated humans differently the more obvious bias in 1800 would have been to treat them as separate species.
posted by dgaicun at 4:00 PM on December 23, 2010


WERE THEY HUMAN OR CYLON?!
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:41 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And grey cock's feather!

Down along the rocky shore,
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old king sits;
He is now so old and grey
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkille he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieve League to Rosses;
Or going up with music
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
Of the gay Northern Lights.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:05 PM on December 23, 2010


I also find myself diappointed by Alexis Denisof's lack of visibility in recent years. He made Wesley Wyndam-Price believable and enjoyable first as a super-wimp, by the end a super-badass, and at every step along that evolution.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:03 AM on December 24, 2010


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