West African Communities Have Ancestors from Ghost Population, Scientists Claim

Researchers have discovered an antique branch of human ancestry hiding inside the DNA of present-day West Africans. The latest discovery seems like a proof for a mystifying ghost community of ancient humans. Reportedly, the population resided in Africa around half a million years ago. Scientists say genes of these ancient humans are still present in modern-day humans. Researchers have discovered traces of the unknown ancestor while studying the genomes from West African people. Notably, they have discovered up to one-fifth of their DNA seemed to have arrived from the lacking relatives.

Researchers are doubtful that the ancestors of present-day west African people crossbred with the still-being-found antique humans. Notably, the interbreeding took place tens of thousands of years ago. The finding points to a similar bred which took place between Neanderthals and Europeans. Sriram Sankararaman, leading author of the study, said among the West African people they have assessed, all belong to the family tree from this unknown ancient population. Still, it is unclear what breed the hominids belonged to, but they have discovered that humans coupled with them around 50,000 years ago. Yet scientists have not found any physical proof like DNA from antique bones.

Researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles state the unrecognized species accounts for up to 19% of the genetic ancestry of four communities in three countries. As per the scientists, from the newly-found species, two belong to Nigeria, one from the Gambia, and one from Sierra Leone. Well, the discovery of a novel ancient human predecessor is in its primary stages. But early signs indicate that the ghost population has shared a conventional family tree with present-day humans, Neanderthals, and Denisovans around one million years back.

The discoveries are far away from exact, but as per best estimations of scientists, the ghost community separated from the family tree of Neanderthals and modern humans. After that, the group of probably 20,000 people interbred with families of present-day west Africans. The team has released their finding in the journal Science Advances. In the end, authors say, they will have to deeply assess the African genomes across the region to identify the real makeup of human ancestors.