Meet the Denisovans: Genomic research is writing the story of our most enigmatic cousins.

"The bone was no bigger than a coffee bean. It was a bit of pinky from a young girl that could have easily been missed among the thousands of bones dug up by archaeologists at the site each year.

Yet the unassuming fossil made it out of Denisova Cave in Siberia’s Altai Mountains and into the Max Planck Institute’s ancient DNA laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, where in 2010 it yielded a complete genome of a previously unknown type of human.

“No one had suspected such a population was out there,” says geneticist Matthias Meyer, who worked on the specimen."

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