Early human remains reshape migration views

The fossilized remains of a woman from 7,000 years ago point to new possibilities about our past.

It hints at mixing between early humans in Indonesia and those from faraway Siberia.

Theories about early human migration in Asia could be shaken up thanks to this new research published in scientific journal 'Nature' in August.

The genetic fingerprint of the woman was found in a cave complex called Leang Panninge and may mean migration took place much earlier than previously thought.

Thats because 'Besse' - as scientists have named her - has DNA showing she partly descended from ancient humans whose remains were first found in Siberia.

Archaeologist Basran Burhan explains more about this group - called the Denisovans.

"Denisovans were a very mysterious human species, because until now only a few fragments of Denisovan bones have been found in Siberia, Russia and parts of present-day China. Because of the lack of Denisovan bones found, it is not known what these humans looked like."

Until recently, scientists thought North Asian people such as the Denisovans only arrived in Southeast Asia about 3,500 years ago.

Archaeology and Anthropology lecturer who worked on the project, Iwan Sumantri says the findings could prompt scientists to rethink other migration patterns:

"Theories about migration will change, as theories about race will also change. So far the oldest known racial group (in Indonesia) is the Australo-Melanesians, and we know in most places in Southeast Asia there are large groups of Austronesian people, but between these races and groups there's another, which is the Denisovans."

The discovery may also offer insights into the origins of Papuans and Indigenous Australian people who share Denisovan DNA.

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