Artificial intelligence found a new species of hominids that bred with humans

neanderthal, homo sapien, Denisovan
© Yulliii/Shutterstock

High tech, meet ancient history.

Remember that time the Jetsons met the Flintstones? Well, we have for you today a scientific finding that combines future technology with ancient human evolution. Artificial intelligence discovered a whole new hominoid species.

Researchers from Estonia and Spain used deep learning to build a model for human evolution. They already knew Neanderthals and Denisovan bred with humans, but their programs uncovered something new: a third species that joined the hominoid party.

We wrote about how someone found a child with a Denisovan father and Neanderthal mother. Apparently, this was no exception. There was an entire species of part Denisovian, part Neanderthal folks. And this species bred with Homo sapiens — that's us.

Or is it? At this point, I'd normally point out that we are Homo sapiens. But according to this finding, that's not exactly true. We're kind of a mix of these three species (though granted, our DNA is much more Homo sapien than Neanderthal or Denisovan).

“About 80,000 years ago, the so-called Out of Africa occurred, when part of the human population, which already consisted of modern humans, abandoned the African continent and migrated to other continents, giving rise to all the current populations,” said Jaume Bertranpetit, an Institute of Evolutionary Biology researcher who worked on the study. “We know that from that time onwards, modern humans cross bred with Neanderthals in all the continents, except Africa, with the Denisovans in Oceania and probably in South-East Asia, although the evidence of cross-breeding with a third extinct species had not been confirmed with any certainty."

I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if there were still a bunch of different hominoid species on the planet. I suspect humans would have a tougher time drawing such a thick line between themselves and other animals.

Artificial intelligence found a new species of hominids that bred with humans
High tech, meet ancient history.

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