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40 kya human bones contain Neanderthal and current genes

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And raise an interesting question about the use of the term “hybrid.”

From The Scientist :

Recent research has revealed that all non-Africans living today retain a genetic trace—1-3 percent of the genome—of Neanderthal ancestry. And 40,000 years ago, human genomes may have contained twice as much Neanderthal DNA, according to a study published today (June 22) in Nature.

Genetic material recovered from 40,000-year-old human bones unearthed in Romania harbors about 6-9 percent Neanderthal DNA, the study reports. Some of this DNA was contained in three relatively large chromosome segments, suggesting the individual had a Neanderthal ancestor only four to six generations back. “I think the conclusions are quite clear, and it’s really quite remarkable that they were lucky to find a hybrid that was so recent to be able to date it to a few generations back,” said Rasmus Nielsen, a University of California Berkeley population geneticist who was not involved with the work.

Hybrid? Is that quite the right word?

This isn’t the first time researchers have identified a human-Neanderthal hybrid. Previously, researchers had found evidence of an older admixture event that occurred in the Near East in what is modern-day Israel. The new results suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans mixed in modern-day Europe. “What’s exciting about this is that it is evidence that Neanderthal mixture occurred in Europe as well,” said Reich. “What seems to have happened is that modern humans moved through Neanderthal territory and mixed with them multiple times through that span.”

Sounds like Europeans moving through the world via new technology in the early modern era.

So is every human being of mixed ancestry today a “hybrid”? Class, discuss.

See also: Neanderthal Man: The long-lost relative turns up again, this time with documents

and A deep and abiding need for Neanderthals to be stupid. Why?

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Also: Piecing together scraps of DNA from a 400,000-year-old hominin femur

Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista

5 Replies to “40 kya human bones contain Neanderthal and current genes

  1. 1
    jcfrk101 says:

    Interesting to see that the same logic that was used to de-grade Jews and Blacks, continues to be used to de-grade dead humans. I suppose something’s never change.

  2. 2
    daveS says:

    So is every human being of mixed ancestry today a “hybrid”? Class, discuss.

    Possibly? At least it fits the definitions of “hybrid” that I find on the interwebs.

    I can certainly understand why people would balk at using the term though.

    But if there were distinct species within Homo, and they have interbred, how are the offspring not considered hybrids? Do we have a better word which would accurately describe this situation?

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    Which part of “all non-Africans” was it you didn’t understand?

    The portion of humans who LEFT Africa, and this undoubtedly includes all Africans living in North Africa, mixed with Neanderthals and other non-African races/sub-species of humans. And these people include Asians, Pacific Islanders and Ameri-Indians, along with the legendary Indo-Europeans (aka Aryans) and the native European “Atlanteans” (people living along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean prior to the arrival of the Indo-Europeans).

    So,the minority of humans whose ancestors did NOT leave sub-Saharan Africa are genetically different from all other humans on the planet. This means that if there are 2 sub-species of humans on Earth, 1 of them is African and the other is “everybody else”.

  4. 4
    Virgil Cain says:

    Word has it that aliens needed workers and engineered us from neanderthal after successfully engineering neanderthals from lesser primates. Or something like that.

    If it’s on the History Channel it must be history, right? 😉

  5. 5

    So given that we can’t recreate pretty much any Tree of Life based on molecular sequencing, why should we believe any of this?

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