4 years ago
Graham Hancock is a researcher, journalist, and author of over a dozen books including "Fingerprints of the Gods" and "America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization." Check out his new Netflix series, "Ancient Apocalypse," on November 11. www.grahamhancock.com
Is there any evidence that there was other species of human beings that existed in the Americas? Like we're finding in Russia and there's many of them that are being discovered all over the world now, these subspecies of human beings. Yeah. Yeah. This is an issue that I go into in America before. And what first drew me into it was Denisova Cave in Siberia. I think everybody's heard of the Neanderthals. And these days, I think everybody's heard of the Denisovans as well. A lot of people haven't. A lot of... Well, I guess a lot of people haven't. But first of all, let's take the Neanderthals. For a long time, it was held that the Neanderthals were stupid, primitive subhumans, shambling, lacking symbolism. Turns out that that's not true at all. The latest scientific evidence on the Neanderthals is that they were symbolic creatures, that they did do art, that they were in every sense human. And they were in every sense human because anatomically modern humans interbred with Neanderthals. You can't interbreed with another species. They clearly were human beings, but they looked rather different from us. And that's why certain populations in the world today still have 3% to 5% of Neanderthal DNA. Then in Russia, in Denisova Cave, they find a single pinky bone from a little finger. And they do the DNA testing on it. They're able to get a complete genome from it. And what they discover is this isn't a Neanderthal. This isn't an anatomically modern human being. This is another human species who they named the Denisovans. They think they're more closely related to Neanderthals than they are to anatomically modern humans, but they're clearly another human species. And they also interbred with anatomically modern humans. And Denisovan DNA survives, interestingly enough. It survives predominantly in Australasia, in Papua New Guinea and amongst Australian aborigines. So as part of the research for this book, I went to Denisova Cave. I had an amazing, actually just incredible trip to Russia. I hadn't expected it to be like that at all. Siberia, I mean, America is vast, but my God, crossing Siberia, this is endless rolling planes, you know, this just vast area. How did you cross it? We took a car. You can't travel independently in Russia. It's very difficult. You have to get permission and you have to state in advance where you're going to be stopping off at. So what I found, and I just did so through the internet, was a local guy called Sergey Kurgin, who had a little tour business in Siberia in the city of Novosibirsk. I got in touch with him. He found a translator who would translate my emails and I said, we want to make this journey to Denisova Cave and can you set this up for us and get all the permissions? And he did. And so we flew into Novosibirsk. Sergey and his translator, who turned out to be a Russian student who spoke good English, joined us and we did this immense journey across Siberia. How long did it take? Oh, it took us three days to get to Denisova Cave. Three days of driving every day. Some stopping off along the way. The hospitality of the Russians that we were amongst. Very independent people. People who are living out there in the wilderness and who actually do know how to survive. It's the first time I've ever drunk milk fresh from the cow. Literally milked right out of the cow and poured down my throat. It was delicious. And the cream, I mean thick, thick cream. So it was a lot of things about Russia that surprised me. Denisova Cave is a fascinating, beautiful place to visit. It's another example of a missing chapter in the human story that is beginning to be pieced together. It's obvious now that we were not alone. That there were multiple other human species who were human enough to interbreed with us and leave DNA. And this Denisovan species was only discovered in like, was it 2000 something? Very recently. The 2000. Seven or something? It's a very recent discovery. And it's a- Did they leave behind art? Hmm? Did they leave behind art? Better than that. They left behind certain physical objects which are extremely hard to explain. One of them is a green stone bracelet. And that bracelet is in the form of a torque which was therefore slipped on sideways onto the hand. It's not a full ring. And a hole has been drilled through the bracelet. And from that hole, it's been possible to reconstruct that a pendant was hung. Then the archaeologists- there it is. Then the archaeologists started to take a look in detail at the drill marks on that hole. And what they discovered was a huge anomaly. That that was drilled with a stable fixed drill. And it was drilled at extremely high speed. This is thought to be 40 or 50,000 years old. There is not supposed to have been any such technology in that period that was capable of drilling with a stable fixed drill. And yet there it is. And there it appears. So there are also incredible, very fine needles, bone needles that the Denisovans made. Very long ones which suggest that they were stitching very heavy stuff together. And the suggestion has been were they making skin boats, for example, to use to navigate. That would explain how they managed to get themselves to Australia, which is where the largest amount of Denisovan DNA survives today. There's one of those needles. There are indications of strangely out of place technology amongst the Denisovans, which is 20,000, 30,000 years earlier in the human story than it should be. Those kind of needles, that kind of bracelet, you could expect to find them in what archaeologists call the Neolithic. But to find it in the Paleolithic is very puzzling and very odd. And it suggests that the Denisovans were certainly not shambling subhumans. They were refined creatures. Can you find out what year they discovered the Denisovans? Jamie, can you Google that real quick? I want to say it's in the 2000s. But I mean, imagine that human beings have been around for this long. Here we are in 2019 and within the last decade or so, they figured this out. Yeah. We're discovering new stuff about ourselves. We're discovering that our story is much richer, much more textured, much more layered than we thought it was. It's not a simple story. It's a very complicated story. And we ourselves are a hybrid species. We are the result of interactions with all kinds of different looking human beings. And the end result is ourselves. So it's not just that we carry Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA. In a sense, we are Neanderthals and Denisovans. They are part of the anatomically modern human heritage. So you make a good point. The fact that this is only being discovered now and that it's an incredibly important I mean, it completely rewrites the story of our ancestry. The notion... It's in the 1970s. 1970s. Oh, okay. I'm way off. The real work that's been done in Denisova Cave has been done in the 2000s. From 2006, 2007 onwards. Genetic examination. That's when the major papers have been... 2008, there it is. ... have been published. Yeah. Which have revealed the genome of the Denisovans and revealed the Denisovan connection to anatomically modern humans. The fact that we are only finding this out now that we told the story of our past and weren't aware of this raises the question, how much else in the story of our past is there that we are not aware of? Let's stop being so arrogant, so sure of ourselves, so confident in our findings. Let's be more tentative. Let's keep an open mind and see where it takes us. That's the main message that I have from all of this. And I think and I hope that this will be an effect of this book. I'm not kidding myself that the archaeologists are going to jump on board overnight, particularly so since I'm very critical of American archaeology in this book. And I'm critical of it specifically and explicitly because of the dominance of the Clovis first model for so long, which prevented other research taking place. Thank you.