Media playback is unsupported on your device

Ancient DNA find is 'very exciting'

4 December 2013 Last updated at 18:43 GMT

Scientists have discovered the oldest known genetic material ever to be recovered from an early human.

Matthias Meyer and colleagues extracted mitochondrial DNA from the femur of a 400,000-year-old human ancestor in a cave known as the Pit of Bones in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain.

Professor Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum in London describes the significance of the discovery.

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.