JERUSALEM : Researchers in Israel say they have reconstructed the skeleton of a pre-historic human from a long-extinct and elusive species using DNA found in the pinky bone of a 13-year old girl who died 70,000 years ago.

Little is known about the Denisovans who were ancient relatives of the more familiar Neanderthals and our own species. their existence was only recently discovered and has fascinated scientists worldwide.

Evidence was first uncovered in 2008 in a cave in Siberia, and today it includes only three teeth, a pinky bone and a lower jaw, said Hebrew University genetics professor Liran Carmel.

It sounds like science fiction, but Carmel said that was enough to create a depiction of a full  Denisovan skeleton.

''This is the first time that we provide a detailed anatomical reconstruction showing us what these humans looked like.,'' he said. It turns out, Carmel said, ''we are all very similar.''

His team developed a technology to decipher the ancient DNA and, more importantly, its gene activity. The skeletal reconstruction along with an artist's rendering of the 13-year-old girl's head and face, were published in the journal CELL. [Reuters]


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