Tags: neanderthal | jawbone | interbreeding | europe

Neanderthal Jawbone Sheds Light on Past Interbreeding With Homo Sapiens

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Jun 2015 03:00 PM

The traces of Neanderthal DNA found in a modern-day human jawbone indicate that humans and Neanderthals were interbreeding in Europe as recently as 40,000 years ago, according to some scientists.

A recent study that examined the skeletal remains of a man dubbed Oase 1, found in 2002, shows that he carried a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA than any other human ever examined — between 6 and 10 percent, according to The Washington Post. The DNA found also seems to indicate that the man had a Neanderthal ancestor a mere four generations ago, making him its great-great-grandson.

The study, which was published Monday in the journal Nature, puts to rest the controversy concerning the claims that the jawbone’s shape suggested a hybrid between Homo sapiens and Neanderthal, according to National Geographic. The jawbone itself contained seven huge pieces of whole chromosomes from Neanderthal origin, suggesting that they had come from a recent ancestor because they had not yet been reshuffled through generations of chromosome combinations.

“I could hardly believe that we were lucky enough to hit upon an individual like this,” said Svante Pääbo, one of the study’s co-authors and the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, according to National Geographic.

Although many Young Earth Creationist scientists remain skeptical of the findings and dispute the timeframe offered by scientists in support of an Old Earth, the scientists who participated in the study are especially thrilled, hoping that this new piece of evidence can contribute to their research into the spread of modern humans across Europe into Neanderthal-occupied land before the Neanderthals’ extinction.

“This is the only interbreeding in Europe that we know about so far,” Pääbo told The Guardian. “It shows us that the very earliest modern humans that came to Europe really mixed with the local Neanderthals here. It’s not just something that happened early on when they came out of Africa.”

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The traces of Neanderthal DNA found in a modern-day human jawbone indicate that humans and Neanderthals were interbreeding in Europe as recently as 40,000 years ago, according to some scientists.
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2015-00-23
Tuesday, 23 Jun 2015 03:00 PM
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