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According to New Scientist (This article and its images were originally posted on New Scientist October 10, 2018 at 07:06AM.)
WE LEARN about our ancestors in many ways. Bones tell us what they looked like. Teeth reveal their diet. Tools, pots, art and other artefacts hold stories about their culture. Then, a decade ago, the first ancient genome was sequenced, opening a whole new window on our past – one that promised more intimate insights.
The breakthrough famously revealed that Neanderthals got very cosy with humans. Since then, geneticists have been probing more and more fossils for evidence of past cross-species dalliances. The studies haven’t disappointed. But in an intriguing twist, they have started to kick up something unexpected: hidden inside genomes are signs of ancestors that we never knew existed. Geneticists call them “ghosts”.
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