A scientific finding that’s cropping up perhaps upstage the globally believed theory of evolution. Scientists and evolutionary biologists from Estonia and Spain have used deep learning to build a revolutionary model for gauging human evolutionary patterns. Neanderthals and Denisovan bred with humans have always been a well-known fact, but now a third species has been uncovered.
History reminds us that humans came into existence when a Denisovan father and Neanderthal mother bred and a “homosapien” was born as their child. The findings of the research point now that we are a mix of all these three species.
According to Jaume Bertranpetit, an Institute of Evolutionary Biology one of the lead researcher say that about 80000 years ago, the so-called Out of Africa occurred, when part of the human population, which already consisted of modern humans, abandoned the African continent and migrated to other continents, giving rise to all the current populations.
He further added that the modern humans crossbred with Neanderthals in all the continents, except Africa, with the Denisovans in Oceania and probably in South-East Asia, although the evidence of cross-breeding with a third extinct species had not been confirmed with any certainty.
How AI Found Out The Third Species
- By combining deep learning algorithms and statistical methods, investigators identified the third species in the genome of Asian individuals, the footprint of a new hominid who cross-bred with its ancestors’ tens of thousands of years ago
- This finding explained that the hybrid found in the caves of Denisova, the offspring of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father was not an isolated case but rather was part of a more general introgression process
- Evidence in the form of demographic analysis, one churned by deep learning and sprinkled with some statistical analysis. Their algorithm devised and compared numerous complex demographic models to make predictions about the history of interbreeding events in Eurasia
- Deep Learning made it possible to make the transition from DNA to the demographics of ancestral populations
- Then the researchers fed the algorithm, multiple sets of genome sequences that were derived from both the contemporary and ancient DNA, which enabled the neural network to create a large set of possible demographic histories. After that statistical analysis calculated which among these histories were the most probable ones
- The piecing together of this genetic jigsaw puzzle yielded the proposed “third archaic introgression”, meaning a third hybridisation event among ancient
Why Was Deep Learning Used?
- As demographic models analysed were much more complex than anything else till date and as there were also no statistic tools available to analyse them.
- The only alternative that could reciprocate similar capability was Deep learning, which as an algorithm can help in imitating the way in which the nervous system of mammals works, with different artificial neurons that specialised and learned to detect, in data, patterns that are important for performing any given task.
- So, the researchers used the very same capability of its to get the algorithm to learn to predict human demographics using genomes obtained through hundreds of thousands of simulations.
- This research is also touted as first to successfully use deep learning to explain human history, biology, genomics and evolution.
- Deep learning was used to teach the algorithm to predict human demographics through hundreds of thousands of simulations.
- The research also bolstered a suggestion that the two extinct species often bred enough to produce a genetically distinguishable hybrid population and concluded that Ancient Human Groups Mated With The Mysterious Denisovans At Least Twice.
- Genetic analysis conducted in the research also suggested two populations of Denisovans.
- An extinct group of hominids closely related to Neanderthals existed outside of Africa during the Pleistocene and both those populations interacted and interbred with anatomically modern humans.
- Dried deep within the DNA of Asian individuals was the genetic clue that pointed towards the existence of an unknown human ancestor and the startling fact was that it was not the humans who reached this startling conjecture, but rather an artificially intelligent algorithm which achieved this feat.
- Scientists also extracted Denisovan DNA from a well-preserved finger bone which was found in the Siberian cave.
Deep learning is acting as a key to decipher the secrets of human evolution, recessively registered in four walls of ancient DNA. Even though, while the study on the history of interaction between modern humans and archaic hominin contemporaries remains something to vouch for, one should restrain from making claims of genetic mixing from an unknown extinct archaic hominid population.