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Scientists have recovered the first ancient human DNA from cave sediments lacking human skeletal remains.
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Excavation of the St. Mary Magdalen leprosarium in Winchester, UK, with in situ skeletons.
[Courtesy of University of Winchester]

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.