Genome of horse linked to extinct human species decoded in Russia

July 31, 2013 at 7:05 PM
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NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia, July 31 (UPI) -- Russian scientists say they've decoded the genome of a 50,000-year-old hose whose remains were found alongside those of an extinct subspecies of humans.

The study of the Denisova Cave horse was done by the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Novosibirsk, RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

The cave has yielded remains of both the horse and those of Denisova hominin, a subspecies of early human that branched from Neanderthals around 640,000 years ago, the researchers said.

The Denisova horse's genome was about a 30-percent match for certain populations of modern horses, an institute spokeswoman said.

It was likely hunted by the Denisova humans for game although an early attempt at equine domestication cannot be ruled out, she said.

The Denisova cave, located in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia, was inhabited by humans for hundreds of thousands of years and has been the site of archaeological activities since the 1980s.

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