The world's oldest human DNA was discovered by a team of scientists from the University of Copenhagen. Interestingly, the scientists in a collaboration with archaeologists from the National Research Centre on Human Evolution found the world's oldest DNA from an 800,000-year-old enamel in the tooth of a cannibal. The study was published, recently, in the journal known as 'Nature' on 1 April.
The skeletal remains of an archaic group of human beings were recently discovered back in 1994 by a group of archaeologists from the Atapuerca Mountains in Spain, and reportedly, had common similarities with the humans in modern-day life. Archaeologists also discovered fossilised remains of humans which belonged to at least six human bodies. The fragments were further cut and fractured, in an attempt to cannibalise them, as per reports. Reportedly, the archaeologists named the unknown species as Homo antecessor.
To discover more about the human species' history, a method known as paleoproteomics was used, which requires the study of ancient proteins. The analysis of the protein from ancient times suggested that the cannibal race Homo antecessor was closely related to Homo sapiens i.e., humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans. The results pointed to the proposal that the species Homo antecessor belonged to a sister group of the other group that contains Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans, according to reports from Frido Welker, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Globe Institute, Copenhagen University.
In the study that was published in the journal, Nature, researchers studied the proteins found in the enamel from the 800,000-year-old tooth of the Homo antecessor. The results from the tooth of the 800,000-year-old genetic material were compared to the genetic material found in the recent samples of human tooth enamels. Interestingly, the conclusion suggested that there was a similarity between the results of both groups, Homo antecessor and Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans.