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Intact DNA From 7,200-Year-Old Woman Reveals Strange Human Lineage

Archaeologists discovered the bones of a 7,200-year-old female hunter-gatherer in Indonesia who had a “unique human lineage” never found anywhere else in the world, according to a report published this week.

The superbly preserved fossil, which belonged to a girl named Bessé and was found in the fetal position within Leang Panninge, a limestone cave in South Sulawesi, belonged to a girl named Bessé and was buried in the fetus position inside Leang Panninge, a limestone cave in South Sulawesi.

In this Quaternary-era site, the building was uncovered alongside equipment used for hunting and collecting fruits.

The discovery, which was published in the journal Nature, is believed to be the first of its sort in Wallacea, a vast network of islands and atolls located between mainland Asia and Australia.

The researchers refer to Bessé as a “genetic fossil.” Genetic sequencing, according to Brumm, indicated she had a unique ancestral background not shared by anybody living now or anyone known from the distant past.

Bessé’s genetic makeup is almost identical to that of modern Indigenous Australians, as well as those from New Guinea and the Western Pacific islands.

The first ancient human DNA extraction was place in Wallacea.

Regrettably, the story was never completed. In order to understand more, a crew decided to dig further into the cave and collect more items. Bessé’s age was therefore restricted to between 7,200 and 7,300 years. At the same time, the researchers inspected his bones and collected his whole DNA from them.

In a release, lead author Selina Carlhoff of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History remarked, “It was a tremendous undertaking since the bones had been significantly damaged by the tropical climate.” suggesting that the DNA was isolated from the bone of the inner ear

Only a few pre-Neolithic bones have previously been found in South Asia that had successfully transferred DNA. As a consequence, Bessé’s genetic material has two meanings.

This is not just the Toalean society’s first direct genetic signature, but also the first ancient human DNA discovered in Wallacea, the area that encompasses the islands between Borneo and New Guinea.

And the Toaleans’ roots have been revealed as a result of this astounding performance. The DNA of the young lady matched that of Australian Aborigines and present populations of New Guinea and the western Pacific. DNA from Denisovans, Neanderthals’ distant relatives, is included.

This discovery backs up the notion that these hunter-gatherers were related to the 65,000-year-old people who discovered Wallacea. Professor Adam Brumm of Griffith University says, “They were the first dwellers of the Sahul, the supercontinent that developed during the Pleistocene when the worldwide level of the oceans plummeted.”

At the time, the Sahul included Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, all of which were connected by land bridges. In another speech, he added, “These pioneers undertook ocean voyages over the Wallacea to reach the Sahul, but nothing is known about their journeys.”

An unexpected signature from an ancestor.

In contrast, Bessé’s DNA showed an unexpected ancestral signal, suggesting a connection to an Asian tribe.

Experts are only aware of one contemporary human migration from eastern Asia to Wallacea, which took place 3,500 years ago, much after the young woman’s time.

The research found no relationship between Bessé’s ancestors and current Sulawesi people, who are mostly descended from Neolithic farmers who arrived three millennia ago.

As a result, the hunter-gatherer would display a human line that had never been seen before and looks to have perished 1,500 years ago.

“Bessé’s ancestors did not mingle with those of Australian Aborigines and Papuans,” Prof. Brumm and colleagues wrote in an article published on The Conversation website, “suggesting that they would have arrived in the area after the initial Sahul settlement – but far before Austronesian expansion.”

This extinct civilisation seems to have had very little interaction with other ancient societies in Sulawesi and the nearby islands, surviving for millennia in isolation. There are additional findings that raise new questions about the Toaleans and their origins.

Fresh DNA studies among the residents of the Indonesian island are expected to contribute in the identification of proof of these hunter-gatherers’ genetic origin, according to scientists. They also want to dig further caves inside the Leang Panninge cave.

Prof. Brumm commented, “Bessé’s discovery and the repercussions of his genetic origins highlight our inadequate grasp of our region’s early human history and the amount of things that need to be discovered.”


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