The split appears to have taken place between 360,000 and a million years ago, researchers say from the University of California, Los Angeles. These ancient humans had children with the ancestors of today’s Africans, just like the Neanderthals reproduced with the ancestors of modern Europeans, wrote the geneticists Arun Durvasula and Sriram Sankararaman.
The DNA of this archaic population makes up between 2% and 19% of modern genetic ancestors in West Africa, they said.
UCLA scientists overcame these challenges to find the “ghost” of the hominid tribe using computer modeling techniques on modern DNA.
They built “genome maps of archaic origin” on four ethnic populations of West Africa who lived in three countries: Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia.
The researchers compared 405 West African genomes with Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes, and found out if there had been a cross between an unknown little man whose ancestors had separated from the human family tree before the Neanderthals. The data suggest that this may have involved multiple populations.
Professor Joel D. Irish, a bioarchaeologist at Liverpool’s John Moores University, told CNN that there were probably many different ancient human populations.
“I think there would once have been populations of all kinds, with genetics different enough to seem a little different,” he said.
“Everyone tends to mate with everyone. I think we will find more and more of these” ghost “populations coming soon.”
Last month, researchers from the Princeton Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics said they also discovered Neanderthals in Africa for the first time.
Their data indicated that a wave of modern humans left Africa for Europe some 200,000 years ago and crossed paths with the Neanderthals before migrating back to Africa.
He questioned the widespread theory of human migration “out of Africa”, which means that modern humans originated in Africa and dispersed to the rest of the world in a single wave between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago. .
CNN’s Katie Hunt contributed to this story.