The Denisovans (dee-NEICE-oh-vins) are an archaic people discovered in the Denisova Cave in Siberia only several years ago. We only sequenced their DNA about a year ago to discover that modern man has their DNA like Neanderthal, as well.
We only had a finger bone and molars, but we can make some assumptions they were big and had big jaws by the size of the molars. What we have come to realize after more digs is that they had tools way advanced to ours. Let's take a look at the comparison.
We were utilizing stone chipped tools and drawing on caves.
40,000 years ago
50,000 years ago - sewing needle
50,000 years ago - woolly mammoth ivory tiara
50,000 years ago - hematite pencil
What do we know about the Denisovan people? We found much in their DNA that shows up in some populations today on earth. They had genes that were adjusted to high elevation that allowed for bigger lung capacity, metabolism that can carry a heavy load with only 50% increase in metabolism versus our 100% increase, able to adjust to any climate, thinner blood for elevations, and more.
This branch of humanity was in Europe and Asia long before we left Africa. They had to adjust to mountainous terrains, inclement weather and other adjustments we didn't need to do in cozy Africa. They likely had larger brain size, like Neanderthal who had a prolonged adolescence and bigger skull/brain growth. Looking at the tools they had (above) compared to what we were utilizing, we see how seriously advanced they were. We likely watched these folks in sewn clothing and jewelry and thought they were gods. No doubt we were trying to imitate what they did.
There is evidence that Neanderthal's cave drawings impressed us and we took to the same practice. We also took Heidelbergensis's carved tools and used them in South Africa and tried to imitate the tooling style.
I am very excited at the prospect that we will uncover more of Denisovans' remains and find out the details of their physical qualities and more of their tools. I promise to keep this an ongoing subject here on GHT.