Friday, 23 April 2010

We May All Be A Little Bit Neanderthal After All

A major new DNA study shows that we may all be carrying a few Neanderthal genes in our makeup. Neanderthals vanished off the face of the earth around 25,000 years ago, and the reasons why they disappeared has been a cause of major controversy between scientists.  Theories about why they disappeared range from climate change, to competition for food and resources, to being absorbed into the modern human population even through to the modern human population killing off the Neanderthal population.

The DNA study, undertaken by the University of Mexico, looked at 1,983 people from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas and the scientists involved then produced an 'evolutionary tree' that shows how and when differences in DNA of the people's of the world occurred.  There were two periods of interbreeding of the modern human population and another early human species, with the Neanderthals being the most likely candidate species.  One of the periods of interbreeding occurred in the eastern Mediterranean around 60,000 years ago and another around 45,000 years in the area of East Asia.

Read the whole article on how we may all be carrying Neanderthal DNA

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