Denisova Cave was also inhabited by Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and large predators

Denisova Cave, located in Siberia, became known about ten years ago, when some fossil remains of a new group of hominids, later called Homo Denisova or Denisovani, were discovered. Now a new study by scientists from Flinders University confirms the suspicion that anthropologists previously had that the same cave was inhabited not only by Denisovites, but also by Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

Analyzing fossils of animal excreta and coal traces that indicated outbreaks inside the cave, as well as various animal bone fragments, a group of Russian and Australian researchers concluded that Denisovs, Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens had inhabited this route at different stages. During these phases, there were others in which large predators such as hyenas, wolves and bears dominated the same cave.

The latter could then be hunted when groups of hominids decided to control the area or coexisted with the hominids, even at stages when the cave was occupied by them. According to Mike Morley, a researcher at Flinders University and one of the authors of the study, the cave has many testimonies and microscopic traces that show that hominids and large carnivorous animals have used this place as a home in the last three glacial-interior cycles.

Many of these tests have been identified by experts using innovative methods, in particular using advanced microscopic and micromorphological analyses carried out on sediments up to 3-4 meters deep.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-49930-3

Melissa Ward

I am a mature-aged graduate student at Colorado State University, having previously been a student under Prof. Daniel Reed and having a deep understanding of the scientific method and scientific reporting. After graduation, I worked briefly for Daily Times-Call (timescall.com) as an assistant and am not a part-time contributor to Biology Reporter.

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Melissa Ward