In 2010 scientists found evidence (only a finger bone) in Siberia of a new species of humans. The DNA was different than both homo sapiens (modern humans) and neanderthals and was dated around 41,000 years ago.
This is fascinating to me because it is now evident that there were multiple species of humans living together in prehistoric times as apposed to the theory that modern humans were descendants of, or linear ancestors to either of these species. We were separate species living among each other in the remote past. It is believed that all three of these species interbred in ancient times.
“Approximately 4% of the DNA of non-African modern humans is shared with Neanderthals, suggesting interbreeding. Tests comparing the Denisova hominin genome with those of six modern humans – aǃKung from South Africa, a Nigerian, a Frenchman, a Papua New Guinean, aBougainville Islander and a Han Chinese – showed that between 4% and 6% of the genome of Melanesians (represented by the Papua New Guinean and Bougainville Islander) derives from a Denisovan population.” Learn more here.
What were these “people” like? How advanced of a species were they? We have recently discovered cave art by neanderthals proving they were more advanced than we previously thought since we assumed only modern day humans could understand and implement symbolism. Now that we know there was a third human species in prehistoric times, it will be amazing to learn more about when they emerged, what they knew and how civilized they were. I expect scientists will discover more which will answer some questions, but probably create more.