Ancient Man Had Neanderthal Great-Great Grandfather

Jul 8, 2015

by Michael D. Lemonick

A modern human who lived in what is now Romania between 37,000 and 42,000 years ago had at least one Neanderthal ancestor as little as four generations back—which is to say, a great-great-grandparent.

Scientists have known for at least half a decade that living humans bear traces of Neanderthal blood—or more specifically, Neanderthal DNA. Just when and where our ancestors bred with their now-extinct cousins, however, has been tricky to pin down until now. A new study published Monday in the journal Nature has the highest percentage of Neanderthal DNA of any modern human ever studied.

“I could hardly believe that we were lucky enough to hit upon an individual like this,” says study co-author Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig.

The specimen, known as Oase 1, consists only of a male jawbone, and from the moment it was discovered in 2002 its shape suggested that it might belong to a hybrid between Homo sapiens and Neanderthal. Those claims have remained controversial, but the new analysis lays the controversy to rest. “It’s really stunning,” says Oxford’s Tom Higham, an expert on the Neanderthal-human transition who was not involved in this research.

Part of what stuns Higham is the genomic artistry it took to tease useful genetic information out of the tiny DNA samples lead author Qiaomei Fu of Harvard Medical School and her team were able to extract from the jawbone. “We tried to do this in 2009 and failed,” says Pääbo. His lab has been working since then to improve their techniques, with resounding success.


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42 comments on “Ancient Man Had Neanderthal Great-Great Grandfather

  • The Neanderthal woman in the reconstruction carries much more body fat than I would have predicted was possible. I realize that they are said to have a more robust bone structure than modern humans but I’m pretty sure that’s not what I’m seeing. I can appreciate that she looks short and stocky but she’s got to have 20-30 pounds of fat around the middle and on her backside. This just doesn’t jive with what we know from Anthropology/ Evo-Bio accounts of female reproductive strategy.

    For females, reproduction is so energy expensive that the system hovers on a functioning/nonfunctioning switch that is regulated by the amount of body fat that she can manage to build up. I venture to say that if all Neanderthal women carried the amount of body fat shown in the picture then they wouldn’t be extinct at all! They’d be running this greatest show on earth and we’d be a footnote in their DNA instead of the alternative.



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  • If anyone is looking for a good summer read, I recommend the book Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes, by Svante Paabo. It’s a fascinating tale of Paabo’s drive to obtain Neanderthal DNA and decode it. At the end of the book I was thoroughly impressed with the sheer determination and formidable resilience of the guy. I should have half of his fortitude and then I’d really be getting somewhere!

    I like reading these articles that update us on the progress in this field. Just as a personal note of no importance for which I beg your indulgence, but I peruse the visiting lecture list at Harvard with an air of optimism that someday I will see Svante Paabo’s name show up on it. Harvard very generously makes these lectures open to the public and sometimes foots the bill for a wine and cheese reception after the lecture, in their Museum of Natural History which is located just next to the Geology Hall where the lectures are held. I am ever greatful for this and I’m not the only one.

    If Paabo ever shows up there, I would be so thrilled to block him in between the coelacanth exhibit and the whale skeleton (with it’s teeny pelvic bones suspended with wires because they don’t articulate with any bone) and I’d ask him to please speculate freely on a number of questions I have, but realize that we may never have the answers to in my lifetime or never in anyone’s lifetime for that matter.

    The first question that I’d ask him has to do with the old bugaboo of our current day modern Western H. sapiens total denial of the possibility that our ancestors actually got down and dirty with those Neanderthal types. Oh the horror of it all! “We” would never do that! I feel it is my duty to correct them on this. “We” would definitely do that. Oh yes indeed, we would. Point of fact, human males are apparently happy to have sex out of their own “race”, out of their own species (think farm animals) and in fact, they are willing to have sex with inanimate objects. Why on earth would they say no to a Neanderthal female? –They wouldn’t say no. They would say yes. Note that I would not bother him with this info since I’m quite sure that he is well aware of this particular situation with the males of our species. 😉

    But what I want to hear some speculation on is this; did those Neanderthals and those sapiens see each other and really know how different they were genetically? Now don’t go lecturing me on the fact that they had no way to quantify genetic differences. Duh! It’s just that no modern human has had the experience of confronting in real life another of our kind that is so radically different than we are. I wonder what those meetings were like. Maybe they just thought of each other as just weird family groups/tribes/bands that are just unattractive and stupid and occupiers of land that deserve to be killed or driven off. I wonder if they realized what a monumental difference there was between them. That’s what I’d like to hear Svante Paabo rattle on about. Nothing formal with footnotes and citations, just shootin the shit as we say here in Boston.

    Oh to go back in time and be a fly on the wall of those caves…



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  • My guess is that it is as easy for a Neanderthal and a Sapiens to produce viable offspring as it is for a Scandinavian with an Australian aborigine. We do not have A common ancestor, we have MANY common ancestorS. It would not surprise me if chimps could breed with bonobos, gorillas, orangs and ourselves. That it seems not to happen is probably due to lack of opportunity or lack of attraction. But let us acknowledge that their are individuals that find more distant relatives such as (say) sheep alluring (or is that just a tabloid/Internet generated myth?).
    Our definition of a species was so much simpler when we began to search for our origins post Darwin, but DNA/genetics understanding now makes that earlier distinction blurred. As is always the case in Life and Science: The more we know – the greater the gaps in our knowledge because of the wider possibilities awakened.



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  • The Controversial PP
    Well, I don’t know about bonobos, gorillas or orangs DNA configurations, but I have serious doubts that a human could produce any offspring at all, in a natural way, with chimps. There is a discrepancy in the number of chromosomes between us and I can’t believe that the genetic material would line up right. Maybe in a lab though, what with the technology improving these days minute by minute!

    Here’s the wiki quickie explanation:

    Human and chimpanzee chromosomes are very similar. The primary difference is that humans have one fewer pair of chromosomes than do other great apes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes and other great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes.
    Chimpanzee genome project – Wikipedia, the free …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee_genome_projectWikipedia

    One of our chromosomes is a fusion of what exists as two chromosomes in other apes. How in the world did that happen? Should we assume that the common ancestor must have had 24 pairs like the other apes? Strange…..



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  • I’m thinking about the consequences of having a different number of chromosomes than the rest of the great apes. This must have served the same role as dumping us on an island that is isolated from the rest of our potential primate breeding partners. Isolation is important in speciation, right?



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  • LaurieB
    Jul 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I’m thinking about the consequences of having a different number of chromosomes than the rest of the great apes.

    Having a mis-match of chromosome numbers is damaging, but not necessarily fatal or causing sterility.

    For example those with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome.

    http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/disorders/chromosomal/down/
    Down syndrome is a developmental disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 (which is why the disorder is also called “trisomy 21”). Having an extra copy of this chromosome means that individuals have three copies of each of its genes instead of two, making it difficult for cells to properly control how much protein is made.



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  • 12
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    LaurieB, sorry to be nitpicking but I think maybe a few clarifications are in order….

    Point of fact, human males are apparently happy to have sex out of their own “race”, out of their own species (think farm animals) and in fact, they are willing to have sex with inanimate objects.

    I don’t know why you single out males in this statement. I’m sure you’re aware that human females are also quite “happy to have sex out of their own race” (good looking black guys are very popular with young white girls – no reason why they shouldn’t BTW) and also quite “willing to have sex with inanimate objects”.

    Case in point, the sex toy industry is a booming $15 Billion/year business (!!) and a substantial portion of those revenues are generated by the sales of dildos and vibrators. BTW, the biggest reseller of those items is…. Amazon. Unsurprising since it allows women to discreetly order their favorite paraphaernilia on line instead of having to walk into a sex-shop wearing a wig, dark sunglasses and an Inspector Clouseau overcoat after having had to drive all the way to a store in a neighboring city to make sure they don’t accidentally bump into someone they know while paying for their …ahem… items at the cash register. 😉

    Why on earth would they [male Homo Sapiens] say no to a Neanderthal female? –They wouldn’t say no.

    Of course they wouldn’t. In the context of prehistoric, pre organised religion humanity, the modern taboos regularly associated with sexuality simply didn’t exist. Also, let’s not forget that these episodes of intercourse may not all have occured in the context of “illicit seduction” (which is in itself a scenario likely to be generated by our own pre-conceived notions of how these events have occured) but in the context of cultural exchange between what was then most likely perceived more as 2 different tribes of “people” and not two different species.

    For example, anthropologists have found that the leaders of primitive tribes sometimes used sex as a tool of diplomacy, offering a guest delegation from a neighboring tribe to have sex with their wives or daughters. Doing this was considered both a courtesy and a strategic move as it tends to put men in a good mood (obviously) and also decreases the testosterone level (and thus dial down aggressivity), which in turn might provide an advantage in trade or peace treaty negociations.

    And finallly… don’t assume that all the inter-species sex occured between a female Neanderthal and a male Homo Sapiens. I’m willing to bet that female Homo Sapiens “got down” with male Neanderthals just as much. 😉



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  • 13
    mombird says:

    So does your moniker, NearlyNakedApe say something about your DNA and your Neanderthal relatives? (I’m teasing friend) 🙂
    I got my DNA done thru. National Geographic. They test your lineage and whether you have Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA. Most of European descent have some Neanderthal- up to 3 to 5% I think it is. I’m proud (I guess) to say I only have 0.7%. That makes me less of a knuckle dragger in my mind than those with more Neanderthal DNA!
    I’m in a really silly mood NearlyNakedApe so I will tell you this story about men and their sex drives. This is a true story. A guy was admitted to the emergency room because he stuck his you know what in a sea anemone. Now no matter how you slice it or dice it, a woman would NEVER do something like that and not just because they don’t have the same equipment! Besides women don’t violently rape so you have to admit men are worse when it comes down to it. Men out number women in the nasty sex department by a million to one and I’m being nice.



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  • bonnie

    I’ve seen that show advertised but have yet to catch it. Luckily PBS repeats shows often and they probably have it on their website so I hope to watch it this weekend. Thanks.



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  • NearlyNakedApe

    sorry to be nitpicking

    You’re not nitpicking. In fact I concede on your two points:

    human females are also quite “happy to have sex out of their own race”

    and about the inanimate objects…

    sales of dildos and vibrators

    et-hem…yes, ok that’s completely true, but in my humble opinion, I’d rather go undercover and lay down some cash in a far away town than leave a cyber trail of personal perversion that any number of unsuspecting family members might stumble across (let them stay in a naive bubble of happiness in the belief that I have absolutely no sex drive whatsoever.). I’ll take my chances with the leering skeevy dudes in trench coats, thank you very much. My laptop browsing history is as pure as the driven snow. (golden halo hovering over me presently)

    I’m willing to bet that female Homo Sapiens “got down” with male Neanderthals just as much.

    Well, that’s actually an interesting point you bring up there. When I read Paabo’s book I came across his explanation of this situation. The problem is that the result of a female sapiens mating with a Neanderthal male would leave a trace of DNA in our current sample, as we have seen. Children of these unions would have probably stayed with their mothers – the sapiens. What he explains though is that with the male sapiens and Neanderthal female, that child would be raised with the Neanderthals and now that DNA line is extinguished. So we don’t know if they got down in equal numbers back and forth. There is also the idea from Anthropology that most of the sex between two different groups has a power variable to consider. The males from an aggressive invading dominant group/tribe have sex with females from the weak, defeated tribe much more often than the opposite – defeated males + invader females. I can’t help but think of American slavery here. White male slave owners used their female slaves as well, sex slaves, and the male slaves were helpless to defend them.



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  • mombird

    So does your moniker, NearlyNakedApe say something about your DNA and your Neanderthal relatives? (I’m teasing friend) 🙂

    Keep an eye on that NearlyNakedApe who is engaging us in conversation and has in fact made a point of winking twice… o_O (also teasing) 🙂



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  • 17
    mombird says:

    Oh boy, I have a green light to tease NearlyNakedApe Here’s another clue to his Neanderthal past. He says,

    sorry to be nitpicking …

    Now isn’t nit- picking something apes and monkeys do? 😉 I don’t care what he says any sapiens female with an ounce of self esteem would not willingly go near some hairy, smelly, beast with a sloped forehead. I refuse to believe it!!!



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  • 18
    mombird says:

    Personally I’d rather have a dildo than a grunting, smelly, silver- backed Neanderthal of the modern variety! I’m glad you are sticking up for us women LaurieB.



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  • mombird

    nit- picking

    haha! good one. I missed it completely.

    any sapiens female with an ounce of self esteem would not willingly go near some hairy, smelly, beast with a sloped forehead. I refuse to believe it!!!

    And with no chin either, don’t forget.. But this does lead in to one more of my questions for Paabo if i’m lucky enough to nudge him into a janitors closet some day, and that is this; was there any female consensual sex going on at all in the lower pleistocene? I mean, we know that outsider males were completely rapey but what about the men from her own group? I’m afraid to ask but was female consent just too much to hope for?



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  • 20
    mombird says:

    Laurie-

    I’m afraid to ask but was female consent just too much to hope for?

    My guess is that there was no such thing. You know the old saying monkey see, monkey do! Have we run poor NearlyNakedApe off ??????



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  • 21
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    So does your moniker, NearlyNakedApe say something about your DNA and your Neanderthal relatives? (I’m teasing friend)

    No problem. I have no idea how much Neanderthal DNA I have and it wouldn’t be bother me if I had more than average. We know next to nothing about NT’s and I am not at all certain they were any less smart than HS’s. I wish we knew more about them and how they lived.

    My moniker has nothing to do with that. It is a an innuendo to Desmond Morris’ 1969 book (which left a lasting impression on me) combined with a bit of irony on my unfortunate degree of ape-like pilosity.

    I’m in a really silly mood NearlyNakedApe so I will tell you this story about men and their sex drives. This is a true story. A guy was admitted to the emergency room because he stuck his you know what in a sea anemone…

    Ok, I have to stop you right there. Mombird, this is NOT a story about MEN and THEIR sex drives. It is a story about A man and HIS weird sex drive. Now I don’t know what motivated this guy to do such an incredibly stupid thing but I will go out on a limb and say that this is something you will most likely witness only once in a lifetime.

    To characterize all “MEN and their sex drives” based on this one anecdote is simply unfair and inaccurate. You sound offended by what this guy did but personally, I think he just sounds like a really clueless guy probably plagued by some serious psychological issues. Either way, his case should inspire pity more than revulsion.

    Now no matter how you slice it or dice it, a woman would NEVER do something like that and not just because they don’t have the same equipment!

    Don’t be so sure. I have never witnessed any of it myself but I know people who have seen women do some pretty questionable things like scatology and bestiality. There are BILLIONS of women in this world so perhaps you ought to be a little more careful about using the word “never”.

    Besides women don’t violently rape so you have to admit men are worse when it comes down to it.

    The vast majority of violent rape acts are perpetrated by men. No question. But to say that no woman has ever done it is again inaccurate as the story of the Sant’Ambrogio nuns demonstrates:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/28/lecherous-nuns-and-priests-murder-plots-and-cover-ups-meet-the-mother-superior-of-catholic-scandals.html

    That’s one example. I’m convinced there are others. And just like men, although uncharacteristically, women are also capable of much brutality and violence:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/04/children-galway-mass-graves-ireland-catholic-church

    Men out number women in the nasty sex department by a million to one and I’m being nice.

    Again… a million to one? C’mon mombird. Be honest. How did you come up with a figure like that? And how did this discussion ever come to this? Is it because you consider sex between HS’s and NT’s as nasty?

    Personally I don’t find anything nasty about it. Neanderthals were a different species from Homo Sapiens but sex between those two hardly compares to sex between a HS and a German Shepherd for example. That’s why I posited in my previous post that HS women might have fancied NT men and vice versa… And I see nothing wrong about that. Just healthy normal sex drive and natural curiosity from both sides. The way it was meant to be before religion came and screwed us all up.

    I enjoy your posts mombird, but perhaps it would be a good idea to tone down the generalizations about men? We are not all rapists and afficionados of sex with marine life you know. We ALL need to be wary of our own baggage and underlying motives, men AND women both. Ignoring those bears the risk of turning friends into strangers, allies into ennemies.

    After all, we DO belong to the same species do we not? 😉



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  • 22
    mombird says:

    whole dildo issue that you so conveniently bring up

    That was NearlyNakedApe who brought that up, who, by-the-way, is nowhere to be heard from !!! 🙂 I just mention it as a rebuff to the thought that sapiens females would in any way find Neanderthal men appealing! yuck Anyway, I have a feeling early man and Neanderthal males could have cared less or even knew about female orgasm. Rape was probably all it was about back then. Too bad they didn’t have the “handy dandy” book you mentioned!!! 🙂



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  • 23
    bonnie says:

    slice it or dice it

    Yikes, your Freudian slip is showing?

    a woman would never do something like that…

    Oh come now, who hasn’t had their ‘The Gods Must be Crazy’ coke bottle stuck in their va-jay-jay at some time or other?!



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  • alf1200

    You are referring to the short, muscular, stocky body type with short forearms and shanks that helps to conserve body heat that is also typical of the Inuit and Laplanders for example. This is described by D. Lieberman, author of the book that I’m currently reading: The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease page 105.



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  • 28
    mombird says:

    Shades of Loraina Bobbitt me thinks

    Now there was a woman to fear! Say no more or the men will never come back to this post!



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  • 30
    mombird says:

    LaurieB

    Believe it. Evidence:

    OMG that is funny! I stand corrected! Anyway, I do feel responsible for derailing this entire thread. 🙁



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  • mombird

    I do feel responsible for derailing this entire thread. 🙁

    Well, um, I just really think we are pretty much on topic here, just sayin. But what caused the comments on this thread to end up in a jumbled up mashed together disorder? It reads like it’s written by potheads who start laughing at a joke a half hour after they heard it and answer questions all out of order.
    (Potheads are good people. No offense meant.)



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  • 32
    mombird says:

    (Potheads are good people. No offense meant.)

    Believe me none taken! I think I’m off to smoke something right now in fact. All this talk of Neanderthal hot and hairy bodies has me spinning! So, Donald Trump, our favorite silver-back! One thing has to be said for him and that is he speaks his mind and doesn’t care who hears unlike the other politicians who are politically correct but secretly feel just like the Donald! I think the Donald, alpha male that he is, has appeal for that reason alone- well that and his money! Must go puff, puff Laurie. It’s been fun and more fun when NearlyNakedApe gets here!!!



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  • 33
    FrankMill says:

    Hold on a moment! If Homo neanderthalis and Homo sapiens can mate to produce fertile offspring, why give them two species names? That’s not the way taxonomy works nowadays. At best they’re races. (And, by the way, examples of modern man differing in amounts of melanin in the skin plus one or two other phenotypic differences are definitively not different races.



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  • FrankMill
    Jul 10, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Hold on a moment! If Homo neanderthalis and Homo sapiens can mate to produce fertile offspring, why give them two species names?

    Nature does not fit into convenient human devised taxonomic boxes. – Hence Ligers and Tigons!

    The fertility of hybrids is usually reduced, but not necessarily to zero!



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  • 35
    FrankMill says:

    Alan4discussion
    “Nature does not fit into convenient human devised taxonomic boxes.”
    That’s my point. Species definitions are man-made, but they’re intended to facilitate and illuminate biological processes, which means taxonomy should be a dynamic, ever-changing subject. Zoology — particularly primate zoology — seems to be way slower than other biological disciplines in revising classifications in the light of new data. Is there perhaps a reluctance to lose Homo sapiens as the name for modern man?



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  • FrankMill
    Jul 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Is there perhaps a reluctance to lose Homo sapiens as the name for modern man?

    I don’t think the boundaries between species and subspecies is particularly less clear for Homo than for other mammals.
    This is particularly so as we track back towards common ancestors where the species/ subspecies/ races were merged before branching.

    The one which would really shake up some people’s thinking, would be reclassifying the genus as Pan sapiens or Homo troglodytes and Homo paniscus!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominidae
    Humans and close relatives including the tribes Hominini and Gorillini form the subfamily Homininae (see classification graphic below). (A few researchers go so far as to refer the chimpanzees and the gorillas to the genus Homo along with humans.) [6][7][8] But, it is those fossil relatives more closely related to humans than the chimpanzees that represent the especially close members of the human family, and without necessarily assigning subfamily or tribal categories.



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  • I need the help of DNA experts on the thread to explain something. The 40,000 year old man with 6% to 9% Neanderthal DNA indeed had a statistical great grandparent if the common-sense calculations are applied.
    Great-Great-Grandparents = Modern Human Father mates with Neanderthal Mother
    Son is 50% Modern Human and 50% Neanderthal

    Great-Grandparents = 50/50 Son mates with Modern Human Mother
    Son is 25% Neanderthal (50% / 2 = 25%)

    Grandparents = 25% Neanderthal Son mates with Modern Human Mother
    Son is 12.5% Neanderthal (25% / 2 = 12.5%)

    Parents = 12.5% Neanderthal Son mates with Modern Human Mother

    Son (the 40,000 year old Man) is 6.25% Neanderthal (12.5% / 2 = 6.25%) or 6% to 9% range.

    Asians have 0% Neanderthal DNA because Neanderthal populations were concentrated in western/central Europe. Still how could modern European populations still show traces of Neanderthal DNA if small and declining Neanderthal populations were going extinct 40,00 to 20,00 years ago while modern human populations were growing to become the exclusive surviving human species? If DNA is represented (roughly) equal between mother and father in the offspring, then Neanderthals would stop making 50% contributions through interbreeding after the species went extinct. The 50% share would be cut in half (roughly) every generation. If Neanderthals went extinct effectively 30,000 to 20,000 years ago, one would think their DNA would have virtually disappeared from Homo sapiens over 1500 to 1000 generations. (One reasonably presumes interbreeding was rare. How can up to 4% Neanderthal “residual DNA” still be measured in modern Europeans? (Someone had his Neanderthal DNA measured at .07% -low but still quite high). Perhaps this DNA represents some kind of foundational genetic material from common ancestors of all proto-human and human species on the European peninsula.



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  • Melvin
    Jul 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    The 50% share would be cut in half (roughly) every generation.

    You are assuming that only one parent carried Neanderthal genes. Once there were significant numbers in the population carrying some hybrid DNA, it would be perpetuated – particularly if those genes conferred some survival advantage in the local climatic and ecological conditions.



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  • I appreciate your observation. Because Neanderthals and “modern humans” are distinct species who can interbreed there had to be one male or female Neanderthal and one male or female “modern human” to initiate the DNA hybridization process. The paternal and maternal ancestors of the 40,000 year-old specimen did not seem too keen on seeking out Neanderthal partners if he wound up with only 6% to 9% of their DNA. Whatever the combination the simplified math works.

    Our substantial problem is that we know very little about the demographics of both groups. How numerous were they? how often did they interbreed? and so on. The data is so thin that the gaps have to be filled with ambiguous, sometimes contradictory narratives always prefaced by…”according to one theory.”



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  • I took the common sense approach (finally) and tried to look up answers to my own questions about Neanderthal demography: Neanderthals are of course extinct. But there never were very many of them, new research concludes: In fact, new genetic evidence from the remains of six Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) suggests the population hovered at an average of 1,500 females of reproductive age in Europe between 38,000 and 70,000 years ago, with the maximum estimate of 3,500 such female Neanderthals.
    …”It seems they never really took off in Eurasia in the way modern humans did later,” said study researcher Adrian Briggs of the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

    http://www.livescience.com/5570-neanderthals-poised-extinction.html

    Whatever the specific causes for their extinction, their tiny population made the species vulnerable. Other research suggests that Neanderthals experienced several cycles of near extinction before they came into contact with modern humans, implying perhaps they were less adapted to extreme cold than previously believed. The conclusion of the National Geographic article appears to require clarification by acquiring further data. From a related National Geographic article: A team of scientists comparing the full genomes of the two species concluded that most Europeans and Asians have between 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal DNA. Indigenous sub-Saharan Africans have no Neanderthal DNA because their ancestors did not migrate through Eurasia. https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/neanderthal/ The 1% to 4% claim can be misleading since it implies an average distribution of 2.5% Neanderthal DNA among Europeans and Asians yet “most Europeans and Asians” alive under the age of 50 have not had their DNA sequenced because of exorbitant cost and no access to testing. The “up to 4%” claim seems exaggerated. The individual who reported his sequencing at .07% Neanderthal DNA suggests that many individuals have considerably less than 1% -nothing close to the upper range of 3% to 4%.

    If modern humans interbred prolifically with Neanderthals, they had to strike often and robustly. The pool of eligible or opportunistic mates was tiny and declining into extinction characterized by lower and lower survival-to-reproductive age. This article requires much more research before enthusiastic scenarios are foisted on the public as fact.



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