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Creation Science Fiction™

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Late Neandertal Genomes And What They Can Tell Us

Back in March, 2018 an article published in Nature compared genomes of five Neandertals who lived between 39,000 and 47,000 in Croatia, France, Belgium, and Russia. They also compared these recent genomes with older genomes already sequenced and some from modern humans. The comparison shows that the most recent Neandertals were more closely related to those who contributed DNA to our species, and less related to earlier Neandertal populations in Europe. 

The study also showed no evidence that our species contributed DNA to these last Neandertals, the gene flow seems to have been a one way street. This is more good evidence that they were a very closely related but separate species from us. Gene transfer between species through hybridization is one way this could happen. Two hybrids may not have been able to have fertile offspring, but a hybrid may have been able to produce offspring with our species, therefore transferring genes from Neandertals to us.

"Although four of the Neanderthals studied here post-date the putative arrival of early modern humans into Europe, we do not detect any recent gene flow from early modern humans in their ancestry."

Neandertals seem to have been on the decline in Europe near the end of their reign, and early European populations were replaced by those from further east not long before they went extinct. They remain one of the most interesting subjects in the study of human evolution because they were so similar to us, yet distinct in many ways. We still have much more to learn about them, and I look forward to each new discovery. 

Credit: Reconstructing the genetic history of late Neanderthals, Nature 555, March, 2018




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