Neandertais e humanos modernos começaram a "transar" mais cedo do que imaginado

quarta-feira, julho 05, 2017

Deeply divergent archaic mitochondrial genome provides lower time boundary for African gene flow into Neanderthals

Cosimo Posth, Christoph Wißing, Keiko Kitagawa, Luca Pagani, Laura van Holstein, Fernando Racimo, Kurt Wehrberger, Nicholas J. Conard, Claus Joachim Kind, Hervé Bocherens & Johannes Krause

Nature Communications 8, Article number: 16046 (2017)

Download Citation Phylogenetics

Received: 28 October 2016 Accepted: 23 May 2017

Published online: 04 July 2017


Ancient DNA is revealing new insights into the genetic relationship between Pleistocene hominins and modern humans. Nuclear DNA indicated Neanderthals as a sister group of Denisovans after diverging from modern humans. However, the closer affinity of the Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to modern humans than Denisovans has recently been suggested as the result of gene flow from an African source into Neanderthals before 100,000 years ago. Here we report the complete mtDNA of an archaic femur from the Hohlenstein–Stadel (HST) cave in southwestern Germany. HST carries the deepest divergent mtDNA lineage that splits from other Neanderthals ∼270,000 years ago, providing a lower boundary for the time of the putative mtDNA introgression event. We demonstrate that a complete Neanderthal mtDNA replacement is feasible over this time interval even with minimal hominin introgression. The highly divergent HST branch is indicative of greater mtDNA diversity during the Middle Pleistocene than in later periods.


We are grateful for comments from Ilan Gronau, Adam Powell, Wolfgang Haak, Maria Spyrou and Alvise Barbieri. We thank Frido Welker and Matthew Collins for ZooMS analyses, Alexander Peltzer and Gabriel Renaud for support in running EAGER and schmutzi, respectively, Mannis van Oven for access to the updated version of the RNRS reference and Annette Günzel for graphical support. C.P. and J.K. were supported by the Baden Württemberg Foundation and the Max Planck Society.

Author information


Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Rümelin Strasse 23, Tübingen 72070, Germany
Cosimo Posth, Keiko Kitagawa, Nicholas J. Conard & Johannes Krause

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Khalaische Strasse 10, Jena 07745, Germany
Cosimo Posth & Johannes Krause

Department of Geosciences, Biogeology, University of Tübingen, Hölderlin Strasse 12, Tübingen 72074, Germany
Christoph Wißing & Hervé Bocherens

Department of Prehistory, National Museum of Natural History, UMR 7194 CNRS, 1 rue René Panhard, Paris 75013, France
Keiko Kitagawa

Estonian Biocentre, Riia 23b, Tartu 51010, Estonia
Luca Pagani

Department of Biology, University of Padova, Via Ugo Bassi 58/B, Padova 35121, Italy
Luca Pagani

Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Street, Cambridge CB2 1QH, UK
Laura van Holstein

New York Genome Center, 101 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10013, USA
Fernando Racimo

Ulmer Museum, Marktplatz 9, Ulm 89073, Germany
Kurt Wehrberger

Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, University of Tübingen, Schloss Hohentübingen, Tübingen 72070, Germany
Nicholas J. Conard

State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg, Berliner Strasse 12, Esslingen 73728, Germany
Claus Joachim Kind

Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, Hölderlin Strasse 12, Tübingen 72074, Germany
Hervé Bocherens


K.W., N.J.C. and C.J.K. provided archaeological material and related information. C.P., C.W. and K.K. performed laboratory work. C.W. and H.B. analysed isotopic data. C.P., L.P., L.v.H., F.R. and J.K. analysed genetic data. C.P., L.P. and J.K. wrote the manuscript with input from all co-authors.

Competing interests
The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors
Correspondence to Cosimo Posth or Johannes Krause.