Early human DNA could actually serve as a sign of an ancient civilization having resided in a certain part of the world, even without any bones as tangible proof. That was the discovery made by a group of researchers who found the DNA of Neanderthals and Denisovans in sediment samples across seven separate archaeological sites.
It can often be challenging to determine if people had existed in certain caves, archaeological digs, or other points of interest related to our ancestors. But with the new discovery, this could make it easier for researchers to determine which group of early humans lived in these areas where skeletal remains are often elusive, and tools and other artifacts are usually the only clues of a previous civilization having lived there.
"This work represents an enormous scientific breakthrough," said Natural Science Museum (Spain) scientist Antonio Rosas, who was quoted by BBC in a report on the discovery.
"We can now tell which species of hominid occupied a cave and on which particular stratigraphic level, even when no bone or skeletal remains are present."