News from IBE
A study led by researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) reveals that an unknown and now extinct chimpanzee species lived in the forest of central Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago and it mated and had fertile offspring with bonobos.
Research has been directed by Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, principal investigator and director of IBE, and Martin Kuhlwilm, postdoctoral researcher at the "Comparative Genomics Lab".
The team had already revealed that bonobos and chimpanzees, the two species that make up the chimpanzees genus, had interbred with each other, just as Neanderthals and modern humans did. Now, they identify through the genome of modern wild bonobos the imprint of an ancestral species already extinct, which coexisted with the two species and crossed with bonobos most likely in the Central African forest more than 400,000 years ago.
Martin Kuhlwilm, Sojung Han, Vitor C. Sousa, Laurent Excoffier and Tomas Marques-Bonet. Ancient admixture from an extinct ape lineage into bonobos. Nature Ecology & Evolution; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-019-0881-7