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Episode 40: The Denisovans

A mysterious new human relative was discovered ten years ago from a pinky bone found in a Siberian cave. They’re called the Denisovans, and people around the world carry their DNA today. Until just a few months ago, the sum total of all the fossils the Denisovans left behind could fit in the palm of your hand. Now new research is unlocking more of their secrets.


Thanks to Bence Viola and Viviane Slon for sharing their work. 

Dr. Viola also wants to give a shoutout to his colleagues, including Anatoly Derevyanko over more than 40 years has excavated countless sites in Siberia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. And Michael Sunkov who now heads the excavations at Denisova.

I also want to thank Sergey Zelensky who provided the sounds of Denisova cave and the recording of the conference.

Click here to learn more about Leakey Foundation grantee Frido Welker’s work on ancient proteins.

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Host and Producer: Meredith Johnson

Editor: Julia Barton

Theme Music: Henry Nagle

Additional Music:

Lee Rosevere “Tech Toys“, and music from Blue Dot Sessions.


This season of Origin Stories is made possible by support from Dixon Long, Diana McSherry, Jeanne Newman, Camilla Smith, and donors like you!

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