Artificial Intelligence Has Found an Unknown 'Ghost' Ancestor in The Human Genome

She is unknown to this day.
Researchers have only recently discovered that she was not the only one. Researchers used artificial intelligence (AI), to identify a human ancestor species unknown that modern humans met on their long journey out of Africa millennia back.

Jaume Bertranpetit, evolutionary biologist at the Universitat Pompeu Fábra in Spain, explained that the "Out of Africa" occurred around 80,000 years ago. This was when part of the human race, already made up of modern humans, left Africa and migrated to other continents. It gave rise to all current peoples.

Modern humans created this pathway to the Eurasia landmass by breeding with extinct and ancient hominids.

These occasional partners included, up until recently, Neanderthals as well as Denisovans. The latter were not known until 2010.

Deep learning algorithms that sift through complex human genetic codes and ancient DNA to find a third ex was used in this study.

The researchers used a statistical technique called Bayesian Inference to find evidence of what they refer to as a "third introgression", a ghost archaic population with which modern humans interbred during the African exodus.

Researchers wrote that this population could be related to the Neanderthal–Denisova Clade or diverged from the Denisova lineage. This means it's possible that the third population in human sexual history was possibly a mixture of Neanderthals, Denisovans.

It's in a sense a hypothetical corroboration from the vantage point deep learning of the teenage girl hybrid fossil identified in 2018. However, there's still much work to do and the research projects themselves don't seem directly connected.

"Our theory coincides in the hybrid specimen recently discovered in Denisova," one of the researchers, Mayukh Mondal, a genomicist at the University of Tartu, Estonia said in a press release.

Despite this, science is making incredible discoveries in this area.

Another team of researchers also found evidence of a "definite third interbreeding events" in 2018. A pair of papers published early in 2019 detailed the timeline of interbreeding between extinct species.

There is still much to be done. This type of AI analysis is quite a new approach in the field human ancestry. The fossil evidence that we have is amazing.

The research revealed that the introgression is not a forgotten process, but a dalliance which, in its own way informs a part of who we are today.

Bertranpetit explained to Smithsonian that he thought he would try to find the high levels of divergence in the genome and see which are Neanderthal or Denisovan and then see if these help explain the whole picture.

"As it turns out, even if you take out the Neanderthal or Denisovan parts of the genome, there's still something that is highly divergent."

Nature Communications published the findings.

This article was first published in February 2019.