Asians may be more Neanderthal than Europeans

Additional DNA knowledge on how much Neanderthal genes are mixed with human DNA has led to a new theory – that Asians have had a double dose of Neanderthal DNA, possibly at different times.

It’s interesting but is a developing party of evolutionary science and seems to disprove the last theory on the amount of Neanderthal DNA shared by us humans. And another recent study suggests otherwise. Never mind.

The key stages from A New Theory on How Neanderthal DNA Spread in Asia

  • Scientists estimate that the Neanderthals’ ancestors diverged from ours 600,000 years ago.
  • Neanderthals first appeared in Europe at least 300,000 years ago.
  • The oldest fossils of Neanderthals date back about 200,000 years, while the most recent are an estimated 40,000 years old. Researchers have found Neanderthal bones at sites across Europe and western Asia, from Spain to Siberia.
  • Our own ancestors remained in Africa until about 60,000 years ago, then expanded across the rest of the Old World.
  • About 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of living Europeans and Asians.
  • People who are not of African descent have stretches of genetic material almost identical to Neanderthal DNA, comprising about 2 percent of their entire genomes. These DNA fragments are the evidence that Neanderthals interbred with the early migrants out of Africa, likely in western Asia
  • People in China, Japan and other East Asian countries have about 20 percent more Neanderthal DNA than do Europeans.

The new theory:

But there are still uncertainties.

If Neanderthals became extinct 40,000 years ago, they may have disappeared before Europeans and Asian populations genetically diverged. How could there have been Neanderthals left to interbreed with Asians a second time?

It is conceivable that the extinction of the Neanderthals happened later in Asia. If that is true, there might yet be more recent Neanderthal fossils waiting to be discovered there.

Or perhaps Asians interbred with some other group of humans that had interbred with Neanderthals and carried much of their DNA. Later, that group disappeared.

Regardless of the finer details this is what they think some of your ancestors may have looked like.

Reconstruction of the head of the Shanidar 1 fossil, a Neanderthal male
who lived c. 70,000 years ago (John Gurche2010).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neanderthal

But that’s just one interesting article and one handsome dude.

Another recent article citing DNA research claims there was no interbreeding with Neanderthals – The Neanderthal murder mystery.

Those scientists may not fancy being related to the this dep;iction of them:

Neanderthal

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3 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd February 2015

    I wonder if aboriginal history has a role to,play in shedding light on this. It seems they migrated to Australia some 40-60k years ago from Asia possibly in several waves and taking advantage of low sea levels and attractive climate during ice ages. There is also the mystery of the Bradshaw artists whose genetic physical appearance is completely different from modern aboriginals.

    Reply

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