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After sequencing the DNA from a 30,000-year-old pinkie finger discovered in a Siberian cave, researchers have confirmed that it belonged to a previously unknown hominid species that probably diverged from the Neanderthal line about 350,000 years ago. The genetic sequence shares as much as 6% of its segments with modern-day Melanesians in the South Pacific, suggesting that the extinct species — which has no formal name but whose members are being called Denisovans because the bone was found in the Denisova Cave — ranged widely throughout East Asia. In May, researchers showed that modern humans of European descent carry 2% to 3% Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that there was interbreeding between the two groups tens of thousands of years ago.
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
That may sound familiar, given last week's announcement of the first scientifically verified dinosaur color scheme .