[Taxacom] I have Denisovan genes (was: Species Definition?)

Kenneth Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Sat May 27 20:15:15 CDT 2017


Hi All,

     I obviously believe that we need to use trinomials a lot more.  Thus my classifications of hominids reduce a lot of named "species" into broader species which clearly interbred (using trinomials).  But I still do not advocate lumping to the extent that some have proposed (such as dumping all Homo habilis subspecies into Homo erectus).



     This includes Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.  It is now quite clear that our ancestors coming out of Africa interbred with Neanderthals, and that all of their descendants (excluding most sub-Saharan humans with virtually no reproductive contact) still carry 2-4% of Neanderthal genes.  Our early Eurasian ancestors probably carried a much higher percentage of such genes, but it has declined over time.


     However, we need to address the Denisovans, considered distinct from Neanderthals, but still closely related to them.  Denisovans have not been formally described as a separate taxon as far I know, but the question is whether they should, or whether they should be classified as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis.


      Some populations in Oceania (such as in Papuan New Guinea) still have 4 to 6% Denisovan DNA, but such genes are widespread at lower levels among Eurasians (and their descendants in the New World).  My own autosomal DNA show 1.43% "Oceanian" which is presumably Denisovan.


      As far I know skeletal remains of Denisovans are still scant (one finger bone and two molars), and they are from Denisova Cave (where Neanderthal remains have also been found).  And yet their DNA is now fairly well known.   So should a formal trinomial name be formally proposed for Denisovans?  I have seen a couple of papers where the trinomial Homo sapiens denisova has been used, but has it been formally described in a way that is Code compliant?

                        ----------------Ken


________________________________
From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 1:31 PM
To: 'Hannu Saarenmaa'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Species Definition?

> So can we please just have numbers, or something for IDs of published and not
> yet named, suggested taxonomic concepts, so that we can speak of them?

Wouldn't that be nice!

> In real world there are no species. Imagine that.

No imagining necessary.  That's the world I live in.  But it is still helpful to label groups of things in nature in a way that facilitates communication -- whether it be islands (or is it an islet?), mountains (or is it a hill?), or species (or is it a subspecies?)

Aloha,
Rich



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