Early Humans Hooked Up With Other Species A Whole Bunch
The story of the human race is a mysterious one. We know many things about our evolutionary past, but there are still many questions that have yet to be answered. Scientists are certain about one fact: the cro-magnon, ancestor to modern-day humans, loved to do the horizontal mambo with more than just cro-magnon.
This could explain why there are traces of Neanderthal DNA in people who can trace their bloodline to Africa.
It is not as simple as it looks, according to Joshua Schraiber, a genomics researcher at Temple University. “The history of human-Neanderthal interactions is complex. It wasn’t just one time that humans and Neanderthals ran into each other and interbred. They overlapped for tens of thousands of years, and multiple interactions occurred.”
The lack of Neanderthal DNA in most of the modern population can likely be explained through negative selection, likely how the phased out unwanted traits.
Schraiber research focuses on identifying the specific Neanderthal DNA in modern human to observe how they may have moved around, but is still apprehensive about his own work. “The fragments we see from Neanderthals are consistent with coming from a single Neanderthal population. This perhaps isn’t too surprising, because Neanderthals had very low genetic diversity. But it is definitely worth following up on.”
Even Iossif Lazardis, genetics researcher of Harvard Medical School, though not involved, fully supports the idea that cro-magnon got it on with the world.
“It’s a long way from Africa to East Asia, and if the scenario proposed by the authors is correct, then such populations may be found somewhere in between, perhaps in Central Asia.”
“It’s just inherently interesting that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals interbred,” stated Schraiber. “I wonder what would happen if there were Neanderthals today?”
I think we all know what would happen.