Before publication of the article in Nature (Reich et al., 2010), members of the paleogenetic team decided to refrain from deciding whether the Neanderthals and the Denisovans should be regarded as different species or as different subspecies. The name “Denisovans,” like the name “Neanderthals” merely points to the geographical provenance of the respective fossils.


Based on the vast archaeological materials from the Paleolithic sites in the Altai, dated within 80–20 ka BP, it can be stated that the Upper Paleolithic culture with which the Denisovans were associated, emerged 50–45 ka BP, and that the behavior of those people was essentially modern. Because of the gene flow between the Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern Eurasians, and between the Denisovans and the ancestors of modern Melanesians, implying that both these Pleistocene populations were subspecies which contributed to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, I believe that the Neanderthals should be designated as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, while the Denisovans – as Homo sapiens altaiensis.


Upon publication of mtDNA and nuclear DNA sequences of Homo sapiens altaiensis, various scientific journals have published a number of articles discussing these genetic data in various aspects (Rasmusson, Guo, Wang et al., 2011; Abi-Rached et al., 2011, etc.).


Later, during the chronological range of 30–10 ka BP, the Upper Paleolithic industries continued to evolve continuously in the Altai. There is no evidence of a migration of anatomically modern humans practicing cultural traditions different from the local ones. Thus, populations occupying the territory of the Altai appear to be anatomically modern.

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