From CBC News, the popular rendition of “We all have Neanderthal genes”:
Hybrid Humans: Who’s your daddy? Well, for humans today, it’s more complicated than we thought. New genetic analysis of prehistoric fossils has proven that most humans today (outside of Africa) have Neanderthal DNA in their genome – which means our early relatives must have interbred with this now-extinct branch of the human tree. But evidence is also pointing to the possibility that Homo sapiens may have mixed with lots of other extinct hominids, gaining a genetic advantage and then leaving them behind in the evolutionary dust. The most recent studies show that Homo sapiens also interbred with the Denisovans, a previously unknown species of humans that lived at the same time as the Neanderthals. People living in Papua New Guinea today, as well as aboriginal Australians, carry their DNA as well.
Now, among the more obvious things for that to suggest is that Neanderthals were only very questionably separate species.
Two other aud moments:
Dr. Chris Stringer is one of the world’s top authorities on human evolution, and a paleontologist at London’s Natural History Museum. He says the new genetic analysis shows we do not have a single origin in Africa, as previously thought. He also says that it could just as easily have been the Neanderthals who lived on, and not us.
Actually, it sounds like a split decision.
Dr. David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard’s Medical School, compared the Denisovan DNA to that of living humans. He was shocked to discover that the Denisovans lived so recently, and he calls them “the genome in search of an archaeology.” He also points out that this is the first time in the four million years of human history that we’ve been the only humans on the planet.
If the genetic evidence is to be taken seriously, they is us, so we are them. And they never really left, in that sense, any more than your great-grandma Minnie did.