Researchers have now described the complete sequence of the Denisovan genome, shedding light on the relationships between these archaic humans, who were closely related to Neandertals, and modern humans.
The research team, led by Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, generated a list of recent changes in the human genome that occurred after modern humans diverged from the Denisovans. This list will help scientists understand what sets modern humans apart from the Denisovans and Neandertals.
An analysis of language from around the world suggests that human speech originated—just once—in central and southern Africa. This verbal communication then likely spread around the globe, evolving alongside migrating human populations, according to the new research.