La barbarie neuronal heredada…
New study finds some DNA in modern humans was passed down from Neandertals
The Neandertals are ancient members of the human family tree. This species, Homo neanderthalensis, appeared about 300,000 years ago. Our species, Homo sapiens, appeared about 250,000 to 200,000 years ago. No other extinct species is a closer relative to humans than are the Neandertals. By 30,000 years ago, this species had vanished.
Neandertals probably walked on two legs and lived in what are now Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They may have looked a lot like modern human and lived in some of the same regions. Still, scientists have long thought that Neandertals and early modern humans had little to do with each other. A new study suggests that’s wrong. These two species may have become close enough to have children together.
Even now, researchers can learn a lot about Neandertals by studying genetic information they left behind in their bones.
For the new study, researchers collected genetic material from ancient Neandertal bones. Then they compared it to genetic material in modern people (Homo sapiens). The scientists found evidence that long ago, members of the two species mated. Today, 1 to 4 percent of the DNA in people from Europe and Asia has been inherited from their ancient Neandertal ancestors.
“It’s a small, but very real proportion of our ancestry,” David Reich told Science News. Reich is a geneticist who studies the genes of particular populations. He works at the Broad Institute, which is at both MIT and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.