Saturday, January 08, 2011

Are we part Neanderthal after all?

The last study I blogged about on this topic said humans and Neanderthals didn't interbreed. Well, anthropological paradigms never seem to last very long. Comparing the human and Neanderthal genomes, the researchers quoted here reported we moderns have a minimum of one to four perceent Neanderthal DNA, and it could be higher. It brings up countless questions: why did these two types mate? When? Where? Was it consensual? (Distasteful, but you have to ask - humans in conflict tend to do very nasty things to each other.) And how did Neanderthal DNA end up all over the ancient world, including places like China where Neanderthals, as far as we know, never existed? And is there still an argument for separate species, or does having 99.7% identical DNA mean there's no doubt any longer? There's a lot more research coming on this one, I'm sure.

Thanks to Dale Drinnon for calling my attention to this article.

No comments: