The Denisovans

Photo credit: Dan

DNA from a group of ancient humans called Denisovans, who lived 150,000 years ago, shows they successfully adapted to live in oxygen-depleted places at high altitude. Some Denisovan fossils have been found in Tibet—which stands to reason. One of the genes common among Tibetan people today was inherited from our Denisovan ancestors. Scientists had wondered how Tibetan people could live and work above 13,000 feet. It turns out their ability to thrive was acquired from this ancient species of human.

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