Denisova 11

Denisova Cave
Specimen number:
Denisova 11
Accession number:
51.39, 84.67
Date min:
79,300 Bp
Date max:
118,100 Bp
Homo, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo denisovans
Time periods:
Calabrian, Pleistocene
Denisova-111 (Denisova 11)

Denisova-111 (Denisova 11)

Denisova 11 is a hominin fossil from Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The fossil comes from the first-generation offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. This groundbreaking discovery demonstrates that Denisova Cave served as a contact zone between these two archaic populations [1][2].


Denisova cave is famous for the discovery of the Denisovans, a previously unknown group of archaic humans, whose ancestors diverged from a common ancestor with the Neanderthals between 440 and 390 thousand years ago [3][4]. In addition to Denisovans, Neanderthals were also identified in the fossil remains from Denisova Cave [5][6]

The high-quality genome sequenced from Denisova 5 revealed that just as Neanderthals and Denisovans contributed DNA to anatomically modern humans (AMHs), Neanderthals had also contributed DNA to Denisovans. This implied that the two populations may have inhabited the Altai region in close chronological proximity to one another, and perhaps even co-existed there periodically [6][1]. The genome sequence of Denisova 11 or Denny, a Neanderthal and Denisovan offspring, shows strong evidence of interaction as well as interbreeding between the two populations [1].

The majority of the bone finds, as with many Palaeolithic sites, lack the diagnostic features required for traditional morphological identification. Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry or ZooMS, a method of species identification by collagen peptide mass fingerprinting, was used to identify additional hominin fossils. Brown and colleagues were able to identify Denisova 11 from sample DC1227 using this method. The sample was taken from square A-2, layer 12.3 of the East Chamber [2]

Whole genome sequencing and other characterization indicate that Denisova 11 was a female of at least 13 years of age during death and that she is the first generation offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father. Furthermore, her Denisovan father’s genome contains Neanderthal ancestry and he came from a population related to Denisova 3, who in turn also carry small amounts of Neanderthal DNA. Her Neanderthal mother on the other hand came from a population that was more closely related to the Neanderthals who lived later in Europe than to Denisova 5, a Neanderthal also from Denisova Cave [1].


Cited References

  1. 1.

  2. 2.

  3. 3.

  4. 4.

  5. 5.

    A proximal pedal phalanx of a Paleolithic hominin from denisova cave, Altai

    Archaeology Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia 39(1)

  6. 6.

This page was last edited on November 10, 2022 at 14:25:00 UTC