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Humans bred with Neanderthals: study

The Local · 7 May 2010, 10:44

Published: 07 May 2010 10:44 GMT+02:00

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Svante Pääbo, the Swedish director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and his team analysed some four billion base pairs of DNA from Neanderthals – a species which died out more than 30,000 years ago.

An initial analysis of the resulting genome sequence draft reveals that Neanderthals left traces of themselves in the genomes of some modern humans, the study, published in this month's Science journal, revealed.

"The comparison of these two genetic sequences enables us to find out where our genome differs from that of our closest relative," Pääbo said in a statement.

The analysis of over 1 billion DNA fragments comes from bones found in Croatia, Russia, Spain, as well as from the original Neanderthal found in Germany.

The scientists developed a new method of separating DNA microbes that had lived in the bones over the last 40,000 years and the true DNA of the Neanderthals themselves, the statement said. Enough DNA fragments were retrieved to account for over 60 percent of the entire Neanderthal genome.

"Over 95 percent of the DNA in one sample originated from bacteria and micro-organisms which colonised the Neanderthal after his death," Pääbo said.

After comparing the human and Neanderthal genome sequences, they discovered that contrary to the common belief that the two species are not related, it appears the two actually bred enough for traces to appear in between one and four percent of modern human DNA.

Previous tests carried out on the DNA of Neanderthal mitochondria, which represented just a tiny part of the whole genome, had not found any evidence of such interbreeding or "admixture."

"Those of us who live outside Africa carry a little Neanderthal DNA in us," Pääbo said.

Neanderthals are slightly more closely related to humans from outside Africa than to Africans, suggesting a contribution of Neanderthal DNA to the genomes of present-day non-Africans, the research revealed.

Neanderthals show the same relationship with all humans outside Africa, whether from Europe, east Asia or Melanesia. The researchers offered a plausible explanation for the relationship.

Story continues below…

"Neanderthals probably mixed with early modern humans before Homo sapiens split into different groups in Europe and Asia," said Pääbo.

This could have occurred in the Middle East between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago before the human population spread across East Asia. Archaeological findings in the Middle East have shown that Neanderthals and modern humans overlapped in time in this region. To date, no Neanderthal remains have been so far found in East Asia. They lived in Europe and Western Asia.

Now the group is working to determine which modern human genes may have come from Neanderthals and whether they provided an evolutionary advantage. So far, they have found genes related to cognitive function, metabolism and cranial features, the collar bone, and rib cage, the statement said.

"We will also decode the remaining parts of the Neanderthal genome and learn much more about ourselves and our closest relative," Pääbo said.

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Your comments about this article

11:03 May 7, 2010 by planethero
this definitely applies to football fans
12:55 May 7, 2010 by peropaco
And social democrats ;-)
13:48 May 7, 2010 by double concerto
And still are of course.
14:59 May 7, 2010 by xavidx
Well I'll be a monkeys uncle. Interesting stuff
15:44 May 7, 2010 by Mack
Yes the title is incorrect... it should be "Humans breed with Neanderthals... especially when there is Vodka involved".
15:58 May 7, 2010 by BCR
Politicians, bankers, football fans, estate agents, traffic wardens, employees of skatteverket...
17:07 May 7, 2010 by Re-Horakhyt...the second coming
95% percent of are DNA is related to squids also...LOL....at inbred mutant albinos....their still making up stories........
17:17 May 7, 2010 by mjennin2
Awesome story; the comments are better though. :P

On a serious note, though, it appears that this destroys the evolutionist's theory that we somehow started out as monkeys and miracuslously evolved into humans. The article clearly indicates that the two species co-existed at the same time: Neanderthals, and also humans. One was not derived from the other. And no evolution took place except for the intriduction of a possible hybrid breed due to the occasional case of monkey sex.

Does this mean we, as modern-day humans, owe our existence to beastiality?? ;)
18:34 May 7, 2010 by Marathongirl
Could explain some of the idiotic behavior in some humans!
18:38 May 7, 2010 by munched
Besides the obvious evidence of Madeline's boyfriend's fling, since when were Neanderthals considered Great Apes? They've been saying for years that neanderthals paired with homo-sapiens and that red-heads carry a larger amount of neanderthal genes.
18:51 May 7, 2010 by Raul el australiano
After reading this article and comments, now I know why I feel more identified with monkeys than the Neanderthal-politicians...
18:57 May 7, 2010 by G Kin
I am afraid this article so far is just attempting to tell just part of the story.

Evolutionary advantage, cognative behavour etc:

1. Not all humans have thier origins in africa.

2. Humans out of africa come from an evolutionary line!

Evolution elites perhaps hahaha

I wait and see.
19:04 May 7, 2010 by sissygirl
The comments are what make this site interesting. Good ones guys! :)
19:24 May 7, 2010 by mjennin2
A lovely kärleks poem called "Evolution" (also known as "A Tadpole and A Fish") By Langdon Smith (1858-1908) -- for any who love poetry: http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/int/evolution.html

19:43 May 7, 2010 by bettan1
QUOTE = mjennin2

"On a serious note, though, it appears that this destroys the evolutionist's theory that we somehow started out as monkeys and miracuslously evolved into humans."

No mjennin2, I still think evolutionists believe that Africans are the living transitions between Europeans and Apes.

QUOTE = mjennin2

"The article clearly indicates that the two species co-existed at the same time: Neanderthals, and also humans. One was not derived from the other. And no evolution took place except for the intriduction of a possible hybrid breed due to the occasional case of monkey sex."

To be honest, I've always wondered if these things were the Nephilim mentioned in the pre-flood days before Noah and the Ark. The account in Genesis chapter 6 speaks of the time when Angels disobeyed and forsook their proper dwelling place in Heaven, were turned on by beautiful human woman and took any they wanted, had sex with them and their offspring were nothing more than freak hybred human beings who roamed and bullied the Earth and it's inhabitants.

Add to that the later accounts of Babylonian, Egyptain and Greek/Roman mythologies and legends of gods marrying women and having hybred half-god half-human offspring (Hercules) ??????? Makes you wonder.

Then there's that historical recent Euro past in the 1930s of Nazi archeaologists looking for it's Germanic-Nordic Aryan roots, but that's another story. *smile*
20:02 May 7, 2010 by Graham Brodie
Ever since reading William Golding's marvellous book The Inheritors I've always rather liked the idea that we interbred with Neanderthals. Our close relatives (the idea that they were our ancestors or even worse apes is frankly absurd) had larger brains than we had and were a lot stronger. They also buried their dead which strongly suggests they had a concept of an afterlife. But of course we were a lot more aggressive and wiped them out. Football hooligans and politicians lack Neanderthal genes. They are to be found in our artists and dreamers.

And no I'm not being entirely serious but it's still worth considering. :-)
22:25 May 7, 2010 by Kooritze
Tell me something new.........ever been to Kinna outside Borås? or come to think of it any saturday night in the Brasseriet in Borås. You will find a fair few examples of genetic throwbacks to neanderthals!
23:43 May 7, 2010 by wxman
It's a well known fact that most of these guys are selling auto insurance in the US. Apparently, it's so easy that ...
00:02 May 8, 2010 by mjennin2
@bettan1 -- what lovely responses! You got the juices in my brain going, thank you for that :) Gunna go reference my literature at home later to brush up on that, thanks for sharing :)

@Kooritze -- "genetic throwbacks", LOL ;)
03:19 May 8, 2010 by Davey-jo
I keep a neat little Neanderthal farm in the discreet Yorkshire dales for that want to continue this fun pastime.
09:34 May 8, 2010 by Marc the Texan
What with several fossil examples of Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon hybrids, and the fact that Neanderthals always had a relatively low population; my thinking has been that Neanderthals were just absorbed into the larger Cro-Magnon population to become us today. To me it seems more plausible than our ancestors killing them off or them being out-competed by us when they were arguably better suited to survival in Europe than our more immediate ancestors. I've followed this story in some detail, but haven't heard any scientists put forward this sort of scenario yet.
09:52 May 8, 2010 by rba
mjennin2 you gotta be kidding me... You're saying that just because species coexist and interbreed they can't have evolved from each other?

According to your theory, dogs can't be wolf descendants, since they coexist and interbreed...
23:09 May 8, 2010 by Da Goat
This is pretty racist research, seeing as they still walk among us!

thanks to multiculturalism I am not sure if there are any pure bred ones left, although there may be some who are pretty close.

It is a lie that Neanderthals were primitives they had larger brains and better construction than "modern" men Maybe they just fizzled because they were butt ugly or maybe this is another evolution lie too! (they are not going to frame their results favorably coz that would screw up their religious beliefs)
17:18 May 9, 2010 by hardonforswedes
Thats why swedes are so cute
23:07 May 9, 2010 by tenorlove
Modern man is the missing link between apes and human beings.
00:49 May 10, 2010 by wenddiver
Being related to modern humans isprobably embarrasing to Neanderthals.
02:14 May 10, 2010 by DamnImmigrant
You guys missed the part of the research that DIRECTLY tied these "Neanderthal genes" to extremely conservative religious and political people!
10:28 May 10, 2010 by wenddiver
@Damnimmigrant- Better stop the immigration then as they are apparently the most Conservative element in your society.
22:07 May 19, 2010 by wxman
They're called Hollywood actors.
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