The long-lost relative turned up again, this time with documents.
Yeah. We made him wear a suit this time, and quit banging on his chest and bellowing during the speech at the governor-general’s New Year’s levee. Did wonders for that idiot.
So the latest is:
The oldest DNA of a modern human ever to be sequenced shows that the Homo sapiens who interbred with the Neanderthals were very modern – not just anatomically but with modern behaviour including painting, modern tools, music and jewellery.
Some previous estimates had placed the first interspecies liaison much earlier, before the emergence of these features. The new DNA sequence shows it actually happened in the middle of an age called the Initial Upper Palaeolithic, when there was an explosion of modern human culture.
Prof Paabo and his team published research in 2010 which showed that all non-African humans today have Neanderthal DNA. But that genetic material has been broken into much smaller chunks over the generations.
By extrapolating the size of DNA chunks backwards, Prof Paabo and his colleagues were able to calculate when the first interbreeding with Neanderthals occurred. His study shows that it was between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago.
See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents
and The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (human evolution)