The article addresses the challenges posed by the interdisciplinary collaboration that led to the recent Nature article presenting results of the extraction of ancient human DNA from a perforated deer tooth found in Denisova Cave. We provide a critical analysis of the contextual data that directly impacts the interpretation of the genetic data and the evaluation of the potential of the new DNA extraction technique for future studies. We discuss in greater detail Denisova, the only site that has produced truly exploitable palaeogenetic results. We highlight major unresolved dating inconsistencies at Denisova that need inquiry and explanation. We also emphasize the lack of an appropriate theoretical framework in the analysis of the tooth, of information on the lateralization, sex, age, perforation technique, wear, on the ochre residues, and the release of erroneous information on the associated faunal assemblage. We conclude that quality archaeological data and their sound evaluation should complement paleogenetic data to create unified, reliable, and verifiable narratives about human history.
Paleogenetics, beads, personal ornaments, Denisova Cave, Upper Palaeolithic, 14C dating