North Asia

FINDER is particularly interested in investigating the northern regions of Asia, given that this is where some of the earliest, easternmost or unique fossils of Neanderthals and Denisovans have been identified. Siberia therefore still remains the main focus of this research and a region that has proven already its high potential for yielding new important human fossils.

In close collaboration with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as colleagues from local universities, the project includes a northern cluster with Pleistocene-age sites in Russia, at the Altai (Denisova Cave, Kara Bom, Strashnaya) and Transbaikal (e.g. Khotyk, Kammenka, Podzvonkaya) regions. This is the region where the only Denisovan fossils as well as the easternmost Neanderthal remains have been discovered so far.

All these sites contain large numbers of fragmented, unidentified bones which are available for immediate study. The main advantage of material coming from this northern cluster is that collagen preservation is very often very good and guarantees that each bone identified as hominin will provide a genome and a direct date.