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Talk about extended family: A single-celled organism in Norway has been called "mankind's furthest relative." It is so far removed from the organisms we know that researchers claim it belongs to a new base group, called a kingdom, on the tree of life.
"We are surprised," said study researcher Dag Klaveness, also of the University of Oslo, because the species is unique. They compared its genome with those in hundreds of databases around the world, with little luck. In all that looking they "have only found a partial match with a gene sequence in Tibet."
Its closest known genetic relative is the protist Diphylleia, though other organisms that haven't been analyzed genetically may be closer relatives.
Native: China (Gansu, Hubei, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan)