Finally the DNA evidence is in from Paabo ect. I thought I detected signs of a back track last year when he said they had probably had sex.
Neanderthal Genome Yields Insights Into Human Evolution and Evidence of Interbreeding With Modern Humans
“We can now say that, in all probability, there was gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans,” said the paper’s first author, Richard E. (Ed) Green of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
I’m trying to locate the full text for the Science article later. But my PC time is a bit limited today. However, I am officially entering smug mode now. Told you so.
I image there are a few anthropologists hopping up and down like excited orangutans right now at the news. To quote John Hawks:
Out-of-Africa movement was a major mechanism of recent human evolution. The genetic ancestry of living people is multiregional.
It does define all non-Africans today as an interspecific hybrid population.
From the article..
“The scenario is not what most people had envisioned,” Green said. “We found the genetic signal of Neanderthals in all the non-African genomes, meaning that the admixture occurred early on, probably in the Middle East, and is shared with all descendants of the early humans who migrated out of Africa.”
Which would suggest that the Levant, where modern humans and Neanderthals co-existed for some time about 120k ago was a mixing place for the two. According to the article, between 1% nd 4% of the genomes of non-Africans in Neanderthal in origin, which pretty much tallies with some of the older studies done (they are on the blog if you want to hunt them down).
The estimate of the time of admixture is around 50,000-80,000 years, however I’m not really sure why that should be correct, seeing as they first encountered each other prior to the ‘beach buggy’ colonisation of S/SE Asia, which would kind of place 80k as a bare minimum age, and more like 100k as there is some evidence of modern humans in SE Asia 74k ago under the Toba ash (necessitating a dispersal date for SE Asian populations of about 95k min). I also wonder what implications this has for the route out of Africa, as an exit via the Gate of Tears would make it less likely they’d come into contact with the Med coast Neanderthals of the era. I wonder if the number is more a composite of the very early mix in the Levant, followed by a later addition of Neanderthal DNA in Europe.
Having a happy day 🙂