Europe and Asia has several pre-historic sites which include tools and other human made artifacts, but skeletal remains of humans are very rare in these sites. To uncover new methods of finding ancient human DNA, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig are making efforts.
The researchers have taken samples from seven archaeological sites and found small remains that belonged to mammals. These findings also include remains of our extinct human relatives. They have found DNA from Neandertals in cave sediments and also in Denisova Cave in Russia.
These new discoveries allow the researchers to unfold the genetic relationship of the former inhabitants of various archaeological sites, which do not have human remains. The researchers have stated that ‘our evolutionary history will be clearer through these discoveries’.
Although the fossils of humans are rare to find and these fossils are also unsuitable for genetic analyses. Matthias Meyer a researcher of the institute stated that “We know that several components of sediments can bind DNA”. They have also stated, “We therefore decided to investigate whether hominin DNA may survive in sediments at archaeological sites known to have been occupied by ancient hominins”.