|27 December 2019
Comparing the teeth of Denisovans and modern Asians
Until recently, the fossil record for Denisovans consisted of two teeth and a small finger bone, all from one cave in Siberia, so the discovery in mid-2019 of a Denisovan jaw bone in Tibet was the first found outside the cave. Its second lower molar has three roots - a characteristic common of the first molar in contemporary Asian populations, present in up to 40 percent of individuals compared to less than 3.5 percent in non-Asian populations, but still only 1.9 percent of second molars in groups with the highest frequency this trait.
Detailed study of the Denisovan molar from Tibet reveals that although they have three roots their configuration is different than in modern human populations - not only with regards to its size and shape, but also its position - so the genetic variation that caused three roots in Tibet is probably different to that which caused molars with three roots in modern populations.
Edited from PhysORG (17 December 2019)
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