Doubtless it helps that Iceland is remote:
An international team of researchers has put together a new image of Neanderthals based on the genes Neanderthals left in the DNA of modern humans when they had children with them about 50,000 years ago. The researchers found the new pieces of the puzzle by trawling the genomes of more than 27,000 Icelanders. Among other things, they discovered that Neanderthal women gave birth when they were older than the Homo-Sapien women at that time, and Neanderthal men became fathers when they were younger.
It is well-known that a group of our ancestors left Africa and, about 50,000 years ago, met Neanderthals in Europe, and then had children with them.
Now, a new analysis shows that the Neanderthals may have had children with another extinct species of human (Denisovans), before they met Homo Sapiens, and that these children have been fertile and transferred genes from both species further on to modern people.Aarhus University, “Icelandic DNA jigsaw-puzzle brings new knowledge about Neanderthals” at ScienceDaily
And the puzzle?
However, the researchers also found significant fragments of genetic material from another archaic species of human, Denisovans, in the DNA of the Icelanders, and this was something of a surprise. Up to now, Denisovan genes have primarily been found in Australian Aborigines, East Asians and people in Papua New Guinea. So how did these genes end up in Islanders’ DNA? And when?Aarhus University, “Icelandic DNA jigsaw-puzzle brings new knowledge about Neanderthals” at ScienceDaily
Ain’t seen nothin’ yet, we bet.