Now, researchers have linked an unusual variant of the EPAS1 gene, which is involved in regulating the body's production of haemoglobin - the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood - to the Denisovans. When the body is exposed to the low oxygen levels encountered at high elevations, EPAS1 tells other genes in the body to become active, stimulating a response that includes the production of extra red blood cells.
The unusual variant in question is common among Tibetans and probably spread under natural selection after they moved onto the high-altitude plateau in Asia several thousand years ago.
"We have very clear evidence that this version of the gene came from Denisovans," said principal author co-author Rasmus Nielsen, from the University of California, Berkeley.If the headline puzzles you, let me explain: it became an article of faith on the left that racial differences, such as tolerance of sunlight, altitude adaptations like this, sickle-cell anemia (a mutation that provides significant advantages in malarial areas), are social constructs: that there are no real differences between races except the ones that our cultures create. Here's a recent example of this claim:
Our notion of what constitutes "white" and what constitutes "black" is a product of social context. It is utterly impossible to look at the delineation of a "Southern race" and not see the Civil War, the creation of an "Irish race" and not think of Cromwell's ethnic cleansing, the creation of a "Jewish race" and not see anti-Semitism. There is no fixed sense of "whiteness" or "blackness," not even today. It is quite common for whites to point out that Barack Obama isn't really "black" but "half-white." One wonders if they would say this if Barack Obama were a notorious drug-lord.