Two years ago the analysis of the Neanderthal genome revealed modern humans carry Neanderthal DNA, implying our ancestors mated with Neanderthals at some point in the past. Scientists only found genetic traces of Neanderthals in non-African people, leading to the conclusion that Neanderthal-human matings must have occurred as modern humans left Africa and populated the rest of the world. A new paper (PDF) posted on arXiv.org puts a date on those matings: 47,000 to 65,000 years ago—a time that does indeed correspond with human migrations out of Africa.
Sriram Sankararaman of Harvard Medical School and colleagues—including Svante Pääbo of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Harvard’s David Reich—investigated the timing of the matings in part to verify that the trysts even happened at all. That’s because there’s an alternative explanation for why up to 4 percent of non-African human DNA looks like Neanderthal DNA. It’s possible, the researchers explain, that the ancestral species that gave rise to both humans and Neanderthals had a genetically subdivided population—in other words, genetic variation wasn’t evenly distributed across the species. ... Keep on reading...
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
New paper claims Humans and Neanderthals mated 47,000 to 65,000 years ago
New paper claims Humans and Neanderthals mated 47,000 to 65,000 years; about the time Humans migrated from Africa. ago