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Neandertals And Woolly Mammoths Evolved Genetic Similarities

A new study links convergent evolutionary changes within Neandertals and Woolly Mammoths with epigenetic and genetic modifications in response to the cold environment they both endured.  The Woolly Mammoth evolved in Arctic Eurasia around 600,000 years ago from an African ancestor. Neandertals evolved in Europe about 400,000 years ago, and also from an African ancestor. These two species evolved under the same conditions at almost the same time. The researchers compared genetic variants associated with adaptation to the cold climate found in both genomes and there were some definite similarities. There were similar genetic changes in the regulation of body heat as well as hair and skin morphology and color.

 "It can be reasonably assumed that the appearance of such similarities in gene pathways, alleles, and even haplotypes, is not accidental, and we believe they attest to a degree of parallelism in the process of adaptation process to cold climates."

Neanderthal and Woolly Mammoth molecular resemblance: Genetic similarities might underlie cold adaptation suite

Meidad Kislev, Tel-Aviv University

Ran Barkai, Tel-Aviv University

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