Who were the Denisovans? | Live Science

The Denisovans, together with the Neanderthals, are the closest extinct relatives of modern humans. It wasn’t until 2010 that scientists announced that the Denisovans existed, so much about them remains unknown. However, fossil and genetic evidence suggests the Denisovans lived across a wide range of areas and conditions, from the cold mountains of Siberia and Tibet to the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Denisovans’ discovery

Russian scientists excavated the first fossils linked with the Denisovans (deh-NEESE’-so-vans) in the summer of 2008, in a site known as Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia, according to the journal Nature (opens in new tab). The cave was used as recently as the 1700s by a hermit named Denis, which is where it got its modern name — “the cave of Denis” in Russian, according to the Leakey Foundation (opens in new tab)

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