Culture Magazine

We Are Neanderthals, Just a Tad

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
Greg Mayer over at Why Evolution is True about a recent paper in Nature:
And, finally, there’s what we learn about the interbreeding between anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals. As Jerry, John Hawks, and I have all argued before (and as I recently summarized at The Dish– see the update at end of Andrew’s post), Neanderthals and early non-African anatomically modern humans (along with Denisovans), were all parts of a group of interbreeding populations in nature, and thus were all members of the species Homo sapiens. Ust’-Ishim Man’s genome is about 2% Neanderthal, just like modern Europeans and East Asians. This means that the level of admixture characterizing modern populations was already in place by 45,000 years ago. This is not too surprising. Neanderthals were going or gone by about then, so whatever interbreeding occurred should have (mostly) occurred by then. So Neanderthals are us.

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