Oldest known case of Neanderthal-human sex revealed by DNA test


From today’s Guardian:

A Neanderthal woman who lived and died in a Siberian cave 50,000 years ago has led researchers to the oldest known case of sex between modern humans and their beefy, thick-browed cousins.

Tests revealed that the female, whose remains were recovered from the Altai mountains on the Russia-Mongolia border, carried traces of DNA from Homo sapiens who appear to have mated with her ancestors 100,000 years ago.

The discovery pushes back - by tens of millennia - the date of the first known couplings between the two groups, and shows that both Neanderthals and modern humans inherited DNA from the prehistoric trysts.

Researchers have known since 2010 that people alive today carry as much as 4% Neanderthal DNA. The genetic legacy, which may affect human immune systems, and the risk of depression and even nicotine addiction, is a smoking gun for interbreeding that took place after modern humans left Africa 60,000 years ago and met up with the Neanderthals.



Fertile ground for the biblical imagination. Pun not intended.


You know…call me curmudgeon but I take these kind of “discoveries” with a handful of salt. In a couple of years there will be a “new” discovery that will change the way we are supposed to look at everything.

The results of the tests may be scientifically correct but it is the interpretation of the facts that is most important. In that aspect, I find many of these statements to be suspect.


Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…must have been a really dark cave :slight_smile:


"At least 20% of Neanderthal DNA Is in Humans."


And it’s probably a good thing, too, because it’s believed Neanderthals were more intelligent than Homo Sapiens.

More intelligent, but much less warlike.


We all should. That’s what science is about.

If one is called a name over it, it’s probably because someone has a political agenda or doesn’t want to put grant funding at risk.


Well, Neanderthals were just a subspecies of Homo Sapiens. They are us just their slight differences have made them classified as a subspecies of Homo Sapiens. So, this really is not surprising. It’s still cool though.


Among the most suspect things is the negative terminology, “those” “substandard” “folks” gave “us” “non-Sapiens” heritage which causes “bad things”, which has to be “got rid of” by tampering.

When power weilders get leverage over laboratories and media, with the majority of the population under-educated, the intention is to imply acceptance of imposed tampering.

What’s so bad about sadness, it’s part of my rich tapestry. If I wasn’t sad “they” would find another “reason” to get at me, or someone else. Look at General Sherman.

Much less is known about genetics than is being implied. Almost all genes aren’t directly related to any condition at all, and very few Neanderthalers have been found. What we have in genetics is one hypothesis, provisionally treated by some as a working hypothesis, which power weilders present as a moralistic doctrine. “You’ve got to agree with us that sadness is bad otherwise you are undermining the security of society”, or something like that.

And immune systems are hardly understood at all. The real reality is that no immune system is a bad immune system. By holding up something as “bad” it is attempted to create an “excuse” to tamper. Illnesses should be treated and relieved on an individual basis, i.e when and if and how they are ill. The things listed are not an epidemic in the ordinary contagious sense.

By tampering worse imbalances will be caused.

The enemy to these people is diversity.


You know, sometimes I think the biblical Abel symbolized the Neandertals, whom our ancestors genocided…:frowning:


So who was created in Gods image…modern man as in Jesus Christ…Neanderthals…or other hominoids


“God’s Image” is God the Son. God the Son is the Wisdom of God (Sapientia, Logos). A human is created in the Image of God in that he has Wisdom, i.e., commands reason. So, the one who was first sentient (“sapiens”) was created in the Image of God.


I believe “Neanderthals” were human beings created in the image of God. They simply look different. Perhaps their unusual appearance is due to some sort of unfortunate disease.


They didn’t just look different. The genome (complete set of DNA) of Neanderthals has been sequenced in the last 7 or 8 years and there were significant genetic differences between Neanderthals and modern humans. According to the well known paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer, “In the case of Neanderthals, their vocal tract and capabilities were apparently closer to those of a two-year-old child than a modern adult.” So their language capabilities were not as advanced as ours. Neanderthal infants also matured more quickly than did human infants. This is also true of most animals whereas humans mature more slowly. So the differences between modern humans and Neanderthals was more than just looks.


You’ve obviously never met my family!


If they were a different species all offspring would be sterile.

Interspecific hybrids are bred by mating two species, normally from within the same genus. The offspring display traits and characteristics of both parents. The offspring of an interspecific cross are very often sterile; thus, hybrid sterility prevents the movement of genes from one species to the other, keeping both species distinct.

Keeton, William T. 1980. Biological science. New York: Norton.


The amorous unions between modern humans and Neanderthals may have led to sons who weren’t much good at fathering children themselves, a new study suggests. The findings hint that hybrid boys were partially infertile or perhaps entirely sterile due to the incompatibility of human and Neanderthal DNA. Bolstering those results, a second new study finds that some of the Neanderthal DNA that entered the human genome as a result of interbreeding seems to have made for more feeble offspring.


But apparently the sterility did not apply to hybrid girls. I’m not knowledgeable enough about genetics to know why the hybrid boys would be more likely to be sterile than the hybrid girls. I also suspect that sterility and feebleness of hybrid offspring would increase the more widely separated two related species are.

Your own quote also says:

The offspring of an interspecific cross are very often sterile

But it doesn’t say “always” sterile.


I think you’re underestimating the very often.


My theory is we are the same species as understood under the biological species concept.


The original sketch of what they looked like was based on a skeleton with issues

Do you have a link for that where I can learn more?


You understand, I hope, that the species concept is a categorization concept as much as it is a biological concept, and in no way does it outright state “different species can’t interbreed”. It is far more complex than that; as anyone who is familiar with genus Canis can tell you. Domestic dogs and grey wolves are considered the same species, but coyotes are considered a separate species, and yet there is gene flow between the various groups (the so-called red wolf is really a wolf-coyote hybrid). Various species of bear can also interbreed and produce fertile hybrids, to the point where Ursus populations in North America and even in Eurasia are more like a tangled bush than a nice phylogenetic tree.

Neanderthals and modern humans were separated by over a million years of independent evolution; Neanderthals being descended from the first H. erectus migrations out of Africa in the range between 1.5 and 1.8 million years ago, while modern humans are largely descended from H. erectus that remained in Africa. So there are significant genetic and morphological differences between Neanderthals and modern humans. The fact that roughly 4% of the genome of all humans living outside of sub-Saharan Africa does show some interfertility, but that hardly means we were the same species, just very closely related cousins. It is also telling that this Neanderthal “fingerprint” isn’t found in sub-Saharan Africa.

But again, there is a certain amount of artificiality to the species concept, which taxonomists and biologists will readily admit, and there are enough examples in the plant and animal kingdoms of interfertility between different species to demonstrate that the concept is rather fuzzy around the edges.


I don’t have a link. But the best source on the differences between modern humans and Neanderthals for the average non-specialist reader that I have come across is the book by Chris Stringer, Lone Survivors: How We Came to be the Only Humans on Earth (New York: St. Martins’s Press, 2012). Stringer is one of the foremost paleoanthroplogists in the world today, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. As one reviewer says, “When it comes to human evolution, [Stringer] is as close to the horse’s mouth as it gets.”

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