The examine indicated that current-day West Africans hint a considerable proportion, approximate 2% to 19%, of their genetic ancestry to a human species which is extinct- what the researchers known as a "ghost inhabitants".
The remaining two thirds of their DNA, however, came from an ancient West African source, including a "long lost ghost population" previously unknown to science. Scientists are of the opinion that traces of the genes of these mysterious population can still be found in people, reported CNN. They found DNA segments in the West Africans that could best be explained by ancestral interbreeding with an unknown member of the human family tree that led to what is called genetic "introgression". Bones have been found in Africa from archaic populations, but no DNA has been recovered. Unfortunately, these groups were not studied as extensively as those of the individuals of the Yoruba and Mende group.
The findings are far from definitive, but according to the scientists' best estimates, the ghost population split from the ancestors of Neanderthals and modern humans between 360,000 and 1m years ago.
Homo sapiens first appeared a bit greater than 300,000 years in the past in Africa and later unfold worldwide, encountering different human species in Eurasia which have since gone extinct together with the Neanderthals and the lesser-recognized Denisovans. Then, they took the DNA of the Neanderthals to Africa about 20,000 years ago.
A research conducted by two biologists from the University of California, Los Angeles, has revealed that a "ghost population" of ancient humans inhabited in West Africa almost half a million years ago.
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Sriram Sankararaman, a computational biologist at UCLA and one of the study's authors, said: 'It's nearly certainly the case that the story is incredibly complex and complicated and we have kind of these initial hints about the complexity'. A total of 405 West African genomes were compared with that of Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes to find out if they interbred with the unknown hominin (ghost population). For their study, the scientists carried out a large scale comparison of the genomic variety in modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans.
A new study suggests that an ancient population (not yet discovered in fossils) of a very human nature could leave a genetic legacy that can still be seen in some modern West Africans.
They built "genome-wide maps of archaic ancestry" across four West African ethnic populations living in three countries: Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.
The unknown group "appears to have split off from the ancestors of modern humans a little before when Neanderthals split off from our ancestors", he says. "That tells us that these archaic populations might have had some DNA that did some useful stuff that's proved to be useful to the modern population", she says. "Within Africa, we don't know how many archaic groups might have been involved, and the study doesn't tell us that", she says.