Nature journal published articles by ASU scientists on the latest results of Denisova Cave research

4 February 2019 Department of Information and Media Communications
One of the most famous and authoritative general scientific journals Nature has published two articles on the results of a study of the world famous archaeological monument located in Altai Krai – Denisova Cave.

These are two articles of large international interdisciplinary teams, which included scientists from Russia, Australia, Great Britain, Canada and Germany. Both were edited by Anatoly P. Derevianko, head of the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Archeology Study in Western Siberia and Altai of Altai State University. The articles were published in the issue of January 30, 2019.

The articles are devoted to the geochronology of the unique cave complex of the Soloneshensky District of Altai Krai and the system of evidence of how ancient human populations – Denisovans and Neanderthals – existed in this territory, and who was first to appear here. In addition, the publications also mention other major archaeological monuments of Altai.

“This is the result of a great many years of work by a team of scientists from different countries of the world in processing materials found in the Denisova Cave. After Denisov’s view of man was singled out, the question arose of when and how Denisovans and Neanderthals appeared and lived on the territory of Altai. This is one of the most acute problems of the science of human origins,” leading researcher of the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Archeology Study in Western Siberia and Altai of ASU, Candidate of History Dmitry V. Papin emphasized. “Thanks to the discovery by geneticists of a new kind of person, we began to look differently at the traditional classification of the origin of Homo sapiens. It was geneticists who established that modern man inherited some of the genetic material from the ancient Denisovans. How did this happen, how did the human subspecies fit together? Scientists are trying to answer this and other questions, including in articles published in Nature.”

For example, Nature writes that Altai Krai was inhabited throughout part of the Pleistocene by at least two groups of archaic hominins – Denisovans and Neanderthals. The Denisova Cave contains stratified sediments that preserve skeletal and genetic evidence of both hominins, stone artifacts and other materials, as well as a number of animal and plant remains.

“All work carried out on the territory of the Denisova Cave is a part and continuation of the mega-grant of the Government of the Russian Federation “The Most Ancient Settlement of Siberia: the Formation and Dynamics of Cultures in the Territory of North Asia”, implemented by scientists of Altai State University under the guidance of Doctor of History, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Anatoly P. Derevianko,” Dmitry V. Papin said. “At this archaeological site, the work will be conducted for many more years, since the scientists face the task of preserving all the material found in the cave. For this purpose, biologists, and archeozoologists, and soil scientists, that is, representatives of completely different fields of science, are involved. The task here is to preserve as much information as possible during the excavation process.”

According to the scientist, there are great prospects from the point of view of the study of the ancient human ancestral home in Altai Krai. And this is partly confirmed by the results of the work of research teams, published in the Nature journal.

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