- An unknown type of human lived in Siberia 30,000 to 50,000 years ago.
- The early human coexisted with modern humans and Neanderthals.
- This is the first time a human species has been described only from its DNA.
An unknown type of human, nicknamed "X-Woman," coexisted with Neanderthals and our own species between 30,000 to 50,000 years ago, according to a new study that suggests at least four, and possibly more, different forms of humans existed in Asia after Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa.
The as-of-yet-unnamed new human species, documented in the journal Nature, represents the first time that a hominid has been described not from the structure of its fossilized bones, but from the sequence of its DNA.
Researchers focused on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), genes passed down from mothers to their children -- hence the X-Woman nickname.
Her mtDNA shows that X-Woman shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals and modern humans one million years ago, so X-Woman and her species likely migrated out of Africa 500,000 years before the ancestors of Neanderthals left Africa.