What We Know About The Ghost Population Of Missing Humans

What We Know About The Ghost Population Of Missing Humans


The evolution of man from primitive Australopithecines
to modern hominids like Homo habilis and Homo erectus has always seemed pretty straightforward,
at least if you believe those old ape-to-man evolution charts from high school. But in fact, the path from Australopithecus
africanus to Homo sapiens is complicated. And the more we uncover about our DNA, the
more we have to adjust the story of our evolution to match the facts, including the weird discovery
of a mysterious “ghost population” of missing ancestors. Scientists now believe that ancient hominids
were, ahem, indiscriminate lovers. Genetic artifacts from the free loving Stone
Age suggest that our ancestors all took it where they could get it, and that meant sometimes
straying outside the tribe. Yes, homo habilis got down with its contemporary,
Homo erectus, as well as other cousins roaming the savannah. Even Homo sapiens, yes, us, enjoyed looking
for opportunity in the Neanderthal camps. Anatomically modern humans are the only surviving
species of the Homo genus populating the planet today, but the hominid dating pool wasn’t
always so homogenous. Our direct genetic line diverged from our
closest living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, somewhere between 4 million and 7 million
years ago. During most of that time, multiple species
of hominids roamed the planet simultaneously. These species were so closely related that
they were capable of producing fertile offspring. Scientists know that these disparate populations
copulated, because some of their genes survive today in the deep recesses of our genome. Biologists can usually peg these genes to
known species of hominid, but they’ve been stumped by a recently discovered pocket of
code from the DNA of modern West Africans. This code appears to derive from some “ghost
population” of undiscovered hominids populating the area around 500,000 years ago. According to best estimates, these missing
ancestors split off from a Neanderthal precursor species between 360,000 and 1 million years
ago. A population of approximately 20,000 likely
interbred with ancestors of modern West Africans as recently as 124,000 years ago. So, genetically speaking, this so-far-undiscovered
relative split off from modern humans even earlier than the Neanderthals. According to researcher Sriram Sankararaman: “They seem to have made a pretty substantial
impact on the genomes of the present day individuals we studied. They account for 2% to 19% of their genetic
ancestry.” While 19% may seem like quite a bit of genetic
material, evolutionary biologists are still unsure what, if any, impact these kinds of
contributions have on modern humans. One UCLA researcher explained that, “while several studies have revealed contributions
from deep lineages to the ancestry of present-day Africans, the nature of these contributions
remains poorly understood.” So while we see the genes right there in our
modern genome, we’re not sure yet what they exactly do. But researchers are trying to find out. In the latest study, researchers compared
405 individual genomes from West African participants. They cross-referenced their results with other
known hominids, like Neanderthals, to determine whether or not their data suggested a new,
undiscovered genetic contributor. Some experts say this result isn’t unexpected. There were likely many different human populations
interbreeding during this epoch, each with distinguishable bits of genetic code. Professor Joel D. Irish of Liverpool John
Moores University said, “I think at one time, there’d have been all
sorts of populations, with genetics different enough to look a bit different. Everybody tends to mate with everybody. I think we’re going to find more and more
of these ‘ghost’ populations coming up.” The evidence certainly suggests he may be
right. West Africans certainly aren’t the only modern
humans that show contributions from other species of hominid. Western European samples show significant
percentages of Neanderthal DNA, while indigenous Australians also have contributions from their
local ancestors, the Denisovans. But with other hominids gone, the era of interbreeding
is over. Bonobos and chimpanzees are too distantly
related to modern humans to productively mate, so opportunities for this kind of hybridization
no longer abound. So what’s the reason we humans cleared the
field of all our closest relatives? The best guess is that our advanced brains
and capacity for language probably helped us out-compete all the other hominids occupying
the same ecological niche, leading to their extinction. So let’s pour one out for our extinct cousins. May their contributions live on in our DNA! Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about science
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28 thoughts on “What We Know About The Ghost Population Of Missing Humans”

  1. This whole video is going off of the concept that the evolutionarty theory is true…except You dont have to believe everything forced into your brain from a middle school text book hahahahah what a brain washed society we have if people believe this horse shit πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  2. This is nonsense. They are still trying to prove we evolved from apes. I think I will stick with the Bible.

  3. Bullshit , we was NEVER APES , thats freemason BULLSHIT , & av got Zero time 4 these LEECHES πŸ‘πŸ˜·πŸ‘€

  4. I only mate with vegan men. There is no way I would risk corrupting my genes with defective carnist DNA. Vegan men are mindful of the health of their environment and I wish only to pass my genes into a healthy future. Carnist men will likely go extinct, taking their selfishness, stupidity and laziness with them. They also smell disgusting. The decomposing corpse stench inevitably seeps from their pores and as most end up morbidly obese they are odiously unattractive, repugnant and cloying. Nature will select them for extinction. Goodbye, you stinky fat losers…you had your chance.

  5. Please stop trying to push this theory when you have no proof of it and the "proof" there once was has been proven false. No we did not evolve from monkeys.

  6. 😬.😷.πŸ˜…In these tense times,people can use a LAUGH.Im a new COMIC.Watch my 2nd OPEN MIC for FREE GIGGLES.Please COMMENT if u LIKE(or dislike)Thanks!!

  7. Darwinian Evolution has been debunked by advances in epigenetics.Dawkins and dummy Dennett were both proven wrong.

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