‘Ghost’ human ancestor discovered in West Africa

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a row of skullsImage copyrightSpl
Image caption Tracing the links between the different species is a complex scientific quest

A mysterious “ghost population” of now-extinct ancient human-like creatures may have interbred with early humans living in West Africa, scientists say.

Researchers suggest DNA from this group makes up between 2% and 19% of modern West Africans’ genetic ancestry.

They believe the interbreeding occurred about 43,000 years ago.

Scientists found links to the Mende people of Sierra Leone, Yoruba as well as Esan people in Nigeria, plus other groups in western areas of The Gambia.

The new study was published in Science Advances this week.