An international team of scientists have discovered a previously unknown type of human species that lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago. The discovery was made through analysis of DNA from a finger bone unearthed in a Siberian cave, researchers were able to extract mitochondrial DNA from the bone and discovered the species is distinct from that of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.
Professor Chris Stringer, human origins researcher at London's Natural History Museum, called the discovery "a very exciting development".
"This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia."
The discovery raises the intriguing possibility that three forms of human - Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and the species represented by X-woman - could have met each other and interacted in southern Siberia.