Present-day Asians and native Americans are descended from a group of people who were already in China 40,000 years ago, according to an analysis of fossil DNA published this week. The analysis showed that the early modern humans in present-day Beijing had diverged genetically from the ancestors of modern-day Europeans. Researchers took nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from a leg bone found in the Tianyuan Cave near China's capital in 2003. Using this, they reconstructed the genetic profile of the leg's owner. "This individual lived during an important evolutionary transition when early modern humans, who shared certain features with earlier forms such as Neanderthals, were replacing Neanderthals and Denisovans, who later became extinct," said lead author Svante Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The analysis from the ancient bone showed similarities to genetic profiles from modern-day Asians and native Americans, the researchers said. In addition, the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA was no higher than that of modern-day humans in the region.