An international team has sequenced genetic material from the fossil showing that it is distinct from that of Neanderthals and modern humans.
Details of the find, dubbed “X-woman”, have been published in Nature journal.
Ornaments were found in the same ground layer as the finger bone, including a bracelet.
Professor Chris Stringer, human origins researcher at London’s Natural History Museum, called the discovery “a very exciting development”.
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
“This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia.”
The discovery raises the intriguing possibility that three forms of human – Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and the species represented by X-woman – could have met each other and interacted in southern Siberia.