JAVIER TRUEBA / MSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAVIER TRUEBA / MSF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Homo heidelbergensis thigh bone. This is femur 13 found at the Sima de los Huesos site, Sierra de Atapuerca, Spain. The mitochondrial DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) has been extracted from this bone and sequenced. The fossil is over 400,000 years old, making it the oldest human DNA sequence published to date (December 2013). It showed that H. heidelbergensis was more closely related to the Denisovans, an eastern Eurasian hominin, than to Neanderthals. The work was carried out in a collaboration between Centro Mixto de Evolucion y Comportamiento Humanos, Madrid, Spain, directed by Prof. Juan Luis Arsuaga and Svante Paabo's department of genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
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