180 million Neanderthals are among us

From John Hawks Weblog

Just got back proofs of a book chapter I have coming out soon with Zach Throckmorton. My favorite paragraph:

Nearly seven billion people inhabit our planet. At least six billion carry the genes of Neandertal ancestors. Inheritance from Neandertals makes up approximately 3% of the genomes of randomly chosen people outside sub-Saharan Africa today (Green et al., 2010; Reich et al., 2010). A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows if we took all of the Neandertal genes from today’s human population, we would have enough raw material to make up 180 million Neandertals.

I love that because it makes the Neandertals into the evolutionary success story they really were. They succeeded by becoming part of us.

The idea that all the various hominids who developed bipedalism have all disappeared except Anatomically Modern Humans does not appeal. I prefer to think that many of them – and not just the Neanderthals and Denisovans – live on; in us.

File:Homo-Stammbaum, Version Stringer.jpg

Possible archaic human admixture with modern Homo sapiens (Wikipedia)


Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: