Prehistoric people were forced to compete with vicious old carnivores to hide in caves, a study has proven.
The rocky shelters were seen as first class real estate and nomadic groups sought shelter in them, but were often forced by bears, hyenas and wolves.
Studies of the famous Denisova cave in Siberia have revealed Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans who all lived in the cave at some point.
However, it was probably only short-lived, researchers claim, because the dominant predators who ruled the world 300.00 years ago would reclaim the cave, forcing people back on the road.
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Microscopic studies of 13 feet (photo) of sediment in the cave network revealed fossil droppings left behind by predators. Fossil animal droppings, charcoal from old fires and bone fragments sow the soil on the site
Fossil animal droppings, charcoal from old fires and bone fragments sow the soil on the site, which provided the first physical evidence of Denisovans.
The latest evidence from South Siberia in Russia shows that large cave-dwelling beasts competed with ancient tribes for the best space in cave shelters.
Professor Roberts, from the University of Wollongong, said: & # 39; Using microscopic analysis, our latest study shows sporadic hominine visits, illustrated by traces of the use of fire such as tiny fragments, but with continuous use of the site by cave-dwelling carnivores such as like hyena and wolves.
Sediment profiles with a fossil poop gallery from Denisova, including hyena, wolf and others. this, the researchers say, is proof that people were regularly uprooted by the animals who wanted to use the cave
Studies of the famous Denisova cave (photo) in Siberia have shown that Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans all lived in the cave at some point
& # 39; Fossil droppings indicate the continued presence of non-human cave dwellers, who most likely did not live together with people using the cave as a shelter. & # 39;
He said this implies that old groups probably came and went for short episodes, and at all other times the cave was occupied by these large predators.
A team of Russian and Australian scientists have used state-of-the-art geo-archaeological techniques to dig up new details of daily life in the Denisova Cave Complex.
Large carnivores and the early people used the site for thousands of years.
Principal author of the research, Dr. Mike Morley, of Flinders University in Australia, said: “These hominids and large carnivores such as hyenas and wolves left a wealth of microscopic traces that the use of the cave during the last three glacial-interglacial cycles light up.
Microscopic examinations of sediment left in the cave include fossil droppings left behind by predatory animals such as hyenas and wolves (photo)
The Siberian site first became known more than ten years ago with the discovery of the fossil remains of a previously unknown human group, the Denisovans (photo, artist & # 39; s impression) named after the local name for the cave
& # 39; Our results are an addition to earlier work by some of our colleagues on the site that have identified old DNA in the same dirt, belonging to Neanderthals and a previously unknown human group, the Denisovans, as well as a wide range to other animals. & # 39;
But it now seems that it was mainly the animals that ruled the cave space at that time.
Microscopic studies of 13-foot sediment in the cave network revealed fossil droppings left behind by predatory animals.
This confirms cave paintings around ancient Eurasia and shows what are probably prehistoric animals that are probably hunted for humans.
From their & # 39; micromorphology & # 39; researching the dirt in the cave of Denisova, the team discovered clues about the use of the cave, including the use of fire by old people and the presence of other animals.
The Siberian site first became known more than ten years ago with the discovery of the fossil remains of a previously unknown human group, the Denisovans named after the local name for the cave.
In a surprising turn, the recent discovery of a bone fragment in the cave's sediments showed that a teenage girl was born of a Neanderthal mother and a Denisovan father more than 90,000 years ago.
Denisovans and Neanderthals inhabited parts of Eurasia until 40,000 or 50,000 years ago, when they were replaced by modern people.
The findings were published in the journal Scientific reports.
Study lead author Dr. Mike Morley (photo) of Flinders University in Australia, said that great people and prehistoric carnivores fought over the cave for thousands of years
WHO WERE THE DENISOVANS?
The Denisovans are an extinct species of people who seem to have lived in Siberia and even in Southeast Asia.
Although the remains of these mysterious early people have only been discovered in one location – the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, DNA analysis has shown that they were widespread.
DNA from these early people is found in the genomes of modern people in a large area of Asia, suggesting that they once covered a wide range.
DNA analysis of a snippet finger bone in 2010, (pictured) that belonged to a young girl, revealed that the Denisovans were a species that was related to, but different from, Neanderthals.
They are thought to be a sister species of the Neanderthals, who lived in West Asia and Europe around the same time.
The two species appear to have separated themselves from a common ancestor about 200,000 years ago, while they separated from the modern human Homo sapien lineage about 600,000 years ago.
Bone and ivory beads found in the Denisova cave were discovered in the same sediment layers as the Denisovan fossils, which led to suggestions that they had advanced tools and jewelry.
DNA analysis of a fragment of a five-digit finger bone in 2010, which belonged to a young girl, showed that it was a species that was related to, but different from, Neanderthals.
Later genetic studies suggested that the ancient human species separated from the Neanderthals somewhere between 470,000 and 190,000 years ago.
Since then, anthropologists have wondered whether the cave had been a temporary hiding place for a group of these Denisovans or whether it had formed a more permanent settlement.
DNA from molars from two other individuals, an adult male and a young female, showed that they died in the cave at least 65,000 years earlier.
Other tests have suggested that the young woman's tooth could be as old as 170,000 years.
It is thought that a third molar belonged to an adult man who died about 7,500 years before the girl whose little finger was discovered.
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