Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Cave Bear DNA and Homo floresiensis

Cave Bear Skull Posted by Hello

In a previous post I mentioned that a large segment of the Cave bear genome had been sequenced. I also mentioned that the researchers responsible for sequencing the cave bear DNA were planning on trying the same techniques on neanderthal DNA. Well, there is a new wrinkle:
Homo floresiensis Posted by Hello

Another possibility is to apply these techniques to the remains of Homo floresiensis, found recently in Indonesia. Researchers nicknamed this human ancestor "the hobbit" because of its tiny stature. (See pictures of the hobbit.)

H. floresiensis is believed to have diverged from modern humans two million years ago. Neandertals may have diverged from humans 500,000 years ago.

The successful DNA sequencing of the two human-ancestor species could help scientists describe the evolutionary events that led to modern humans.

afarensis doesn't think this will happen soon, neanderthals will be first and if the techniques are successful then it will be extended to Homo floresiensis (which is actually within the correct time range).