A mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos

Nature. 2014 Jan 16;505(7483):403-6. doi: 10.1038/nature12788. Epub 2013 Dec 4.


Excavations of a complex of caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain have unearthed hominin fossils that range in age from the early Pleistocene to the Holocene. One of these sites, the 'Sima de los Huesos' ('pit of bones'), has yielded the world's largest assemblage of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils, consisting of at least 28 individuals dated to over 300,000 years ago. The skeletal remains share a number of morphological features with fossils classified as Homo heidelbergensis and also display distinct Neanderthal-derived traits. Here we determine an almost complete mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos and show that it is closely related to the lineage leading to mitochondrial genomes of Denisovans, an eastern Eurasian sister group to Neanderthals. Our results pave the way for DNA research on hominins from the Middle Pleistocene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Consensus Sequence / genetics
  • Cytosine / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Deamination
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Femur / metabolism
  • Fossils*
  • Genome, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Hominidae / anatomy & histology
  • Hominidae / classification*
  • Hominidae / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neanderthals / genetics
  • Phylogeny*
  • Spain


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Cytosine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KF683087