Neanderthal Genes Found in Modern Human DNA, Studies Find

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Neanderthals that have been extinct for 28,000 years are living on in human DNA, according to research that suggests their genes may help us better accommodate the cold and be linked to some present-day diseases.

The Neanderthal genes make up only about 2 percent to 4 percent of the DNA carried by a given human today, according to a paper published in the journal Science. Even so, it may be linked to the development of our hair and skin, as well as to immune disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, the research found.

New DNA techniques are reshaping knowledge of human evolution just as quickly as they’re sparking the development of medical tests and treatments. That’s allowing scientists to peek into history by comparing modern DNA with the Neanderthal genome, recently reconstructed by scientists using material from the toe bone of a female who lived 50,000 years ago.

“We’re not as beholden to ancient DNA anymore,” said Joshua Akey, an associate professor of genome science at the University of Washington in Seattle, and an author of one of the studies. “Rather than excavating bones, we can now excavate DNA from modern individuals.”

Written By: Elizabeth Lopatto
continue to source article at businessweek.com

41 COMMENTS

    • I think that statement is unfair and insulting to Neanderthal! In reply to #1 by Tintern:

      “Neanderthal Genes Found in Modern Human DNA, Studies Find”
      Well, that explains Fox News, amongst other things.

      • In reply to #2 by GrizzlyRepublic:

        I think that statement is unfair and insulting to Neanderthal! In reply to #1 by Tintern:

        “Neanderthal Genes Found in Modern Human DNA, Studies Find”
        Well, that explains Fox News, amongst other things.

        True, a low blow for the old genes. They deserve more respect.

    • In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

      Incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago…what’s news ? Is it only just reaching America ?

      I think it regards the specifics, like hair and skin color, as well as the acquisition of specific Neandertal genes that helped modern humans adapt to a colder climate.

      I think that is really fascinating, especially if the connections can be definitively proved!

      • In reply to #4 by Booska:

        In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

        Incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago…what’s news ? Is it only just reaching America ?

        I think it regards the specifics, like hair and skin color, as well as the acquisition of specific Neandertal genes that helped
        modern humans adapt to a colder climate….

        For about 20 years now ive been reading up about the changing perspective in the progression of our knowledge of Neanderthal..
        Early wild speculations finally gave way to genetic proof which is awesome and of course if we have neanderthal genes they will be for a particular function….most likely related to a northern climate and habitat….Neanderthal probably gained those genes
        from Heidelbergensis who adapted to europe much earlier than sapien or neanderthal

      • In reply to #4 by Booska:

        In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

        Incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago…what’s news ? Is it only just reaching America ?

        I think it regards the specifics, like hair and skin color, as well as the acquisition of specific Neandertal genes that helped modern humans adapt to a colder climate….

        Yeah I just thought the connection was obvious…if we have Neanderthal genes – they are obviously for something that is valuable to retain by Sapien – Like wild wavy thick lighter brown hair – and paler skin…and lighter eye colour…..what about nose shape that’s a key factor in a damp and moist Northern Climate as well as immunity to European environment and its bacteria etc….
        What intrigues me is the non obvious aspects of Neanderthal genes and what they could be better adapted to….Definitely light sensitivity as it was duller in Europe….perhaps better able to see in the dark….faster metabolism perhaps… Artistic creativity ? who knows what wonders Neanderthal genes actually gift us ? I’ve definitely got some of those genes

    • In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

      Incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago…what’s news ? Is it only just reaching America ?

      No, but it is only just reaching some readers. And 20 years from now, it will only just be reaching some readers. It should be repeated over and over. Imagine if we stopped talking about evolution because “incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago”.

      • In reply to #7 by aquilacane:

        In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

        Incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago…what’s news ? Is it only just reaching America

        No, but it is only just reaching some readers. And 20 years from now, it will only just be reaching some readers. It should be repeated over and over. Imagine if we stop…

        It shouldn’t be repeated – technically the knowledge we will have in 20 years will far surpass the pretty old news we have currently

    • In reply to #3 by Light Wave:

      Incredibly old studies found this fact ages ago…what’s news ? Is it only just reaching America ?

      Peer review. It has to get proven again and again. There were also some challenges against the claim (alternate explanations, possible contaminated samples, etc), which were all pretty weak but needed to be settled. It’s a pretty big claim so there is a lot of motivation to disprove it, by individual scientists. That’s just how science works, and what makes it such a reliable method.

      For instance, the Martian meteorite with fossilized microbes… that’s Martian life, as far as any reasonable person is concerned. Either that’s Martian life, or we lack fundamental understanding of magnetism and the nature of life. Because the claim is so great, many scientists are looking for these fundamental discoveries as that would be Nobel Prize material too.

  1. What really intrigues me is what lead to the Neanderthal’s extinction. Was it problems related to adaptation to their environment?… Or were they exterminated by Homo Sapiens (like many other species on the planet)? The natural rapacity and xenophobia of human beings make me inclined to believe the latter is entirely possible… Unless I’m missing something obvious of course.

    Is there an anthropologist in the room? Feel free to (politely) correct me if my hypothesis is untenable… I’m more interested in the truth than in being proven right.

    • In reply to #6 by NearlyNakedApe:

      What really intrigues me is what lead to the Neanderthal’s extinction. Was it problems related to adaptation to their environment?… Or were they exterminated by Homo Sapiens (like many other species on the planet)? The natural rapacity and xenophobia of human beings make me inclined to believe the…

      Well it’s easy to see how the genes got in there. Human males will sleep with anything. I would guess the men were eventually killed and the women taken and eventually bred out.

      • In reply to #8 by aquilacane:

        In reply to #6 by NearlyNakedApe:

        What really intrigues me is what lead to the Neanderthal’s extinction. Was it problems related to adaptation to their environment?… Or were they exterminated by Homo Sapiens (like many other species on the planet)? The natural rapacity and xenophobia of human bei…

        This is a very narrow view of how a species died out….I dont think combat would not be on that list…they did look human like and not animal …..it was probably many factors that led to their demise…as you would know if you’d looked up any research on the matter….they were far better adapted to their environment than african sapien
        Disease pathogens from sapien are highly suspect and of course Simply out numbered for resources by sapien who could breed faster why do people always think early sapien was like a modern soldier destroyer ? I dont think humans were so agressive to each other back in those days there was no need …thats a modern territorial behavior in my opinion

        • In reply to #12 by Light Wave:

          I think it’s highly likely that humans were responsible for their demise – and that doesn’t necessarily involve fighting for territory. Humans are very easily disempowered and are quick to point the finger of blame at anything that differs. If humans were living amongst Neanderthals, as we do today with variants of our species, it wouldn’t be long before Neanderthals were blamed for causing the latest natural disaster, famine or plague. Violence would have soon followed.

      • *In reply to #8 by aquilacane:

        Well it’s easy to see how the genes got in there. Human males will sleep with anything. I would guess the men were eventually killed and the women taken and eventually bred out.

        I agree with that but also, we should not assume that females are sexually passive creatures. Human females can be described as serial monogamists with occasional forays outside the main relationship. Females enjoy sexual variety too and I can’t see why male Neanderthals or other groups wouldn’t be part of that mix as well. Certainly these liaisons involved a high degree of secrecy and danger but that’s part and parcel of primate reproduction, is it not? From a female perspective, I think rape was common, consensual sex was calculated, and when strange unrelated males were encountered it would have been a scary but interesting novelty. There’s nothing new under the sun.

    • In reply to #6 by NearlyNakedApe:

      What really intrigues me is what lead to the Neanderthal’s extinction. Was it problems related to adaptation to their environment?… Or were they exterminated by Homo Sapiens (like many other species on the planet)? The natural rapacity and xenophobia of human beings make me inclined to believe the…I’m with you all the way on this one. Its been a while since i’ve read about the subject in question, but it seems to me that there was more focus on how kind, loving, and thoughtful our species really is… And saying that, surely we must have wiped them out. You know how we love our in-group / out-group politics in 2014!

    • In reply to #11 by FrankMill:

      Errm… if Homo neanderthalensis can interbreed with Homo sapiens to produce fertile offspring with genes from both, how come it’s regarded as a separate species??

      The fact is that the definitions of species aren’t as black and white as they normally teach in most biology courses.

    • In reply to #11 by FrankMill:

      Errm… if Homo neanderthalensis can interbreed with Homo sapiens to produce fertile offspring with genes from both, how come it’s regarded as a separate species??

      Both Sapien and Neanderthal were children of Heidelbergensis….but only Sapien evolved in Africa along with more primitive humans while Neanderthal evolved only in Europe and parts of Eurasia perhaps in much less numbers than Sapien…
      A few hundred thousand years of different climate and environments would definitely make their differences evolve separately…although Sapien and Neanderthal shared the parent species of Heidelbergensis they each also had another parent species….like half brothers…(Heidelbergensis had two wives – a European and an African)……Neanderthal seems to have been regularly in-breeding…perhaps not by choice….

  2. In reply to #12 by Light Wave:

    why do people always think early sapien was like a modern soldier destroyer ? I dont think humans were so agressive to each other back in those days there was no need …thats a modern territorial behavior in my opinion

    Early sapien and Neanderthals had plenty of motivation to be territorial. The reasons are the same for them as for modern sapiens. These reasons exist for all primates and other animals too. It’s about finding a territory that has adequate resources, food and water, etc. and then guarding it against interlopers. A good piece of land will support a limited number of people/animals and let’s not forget how close these populations came to starvation on a regular basis in our history. We take a lot for granted these days what with our supermarkets and industrialized farming. Our problem in present day US is obesity, not starvation. I can easily imagine our ancestors walking for miles to glean the fruit from vegetation that is far away, only to find an unrelated band of sapiens, or a band of Neanderthals who beat them to it and what would happen then? In a situation where every calorie is needed for survival, the competition would be fierce indeed.

    That’s the food side of it but let’s think also of the reproduction side of this scenario too. In general, correct me if I’m wrong here, but is there any primate that allows outsider males free access to mate with their females? Male apes, including humans react with violence when they perceive that an outsider is sniffing around their females. The only reason I’m hedging here is because I don’t have enough information about behavior of male bonobos but I will be very surprised if I find that they are so sexually passive that they ignore outsider male interlopers who mate with females from their own troop. Certainly this is not the case with human males, nor with chimps and gorillas either. In fact, the males of these groups react with murderous violence when they detect an outsider male in their own territory.

    It’s not just the males who become instantly hostile, the females will be on high alert as well. Strange unrelated males who come into the group will be a direct threat to infants. Infanticide by unrelated males is a common strategy to bring females back into fertility quickly and this is in the best interest of the conquering male. Again, this is basic primate reproductive strategy and that includes humans too.

    I’m just speculating here, but I won’t be surprised if future research reveals a substantial amount of breeding between all groups of early hominid. I have many questions about our Paleo past that I hope will be answered some day but I’m not going to hold my breath waiting, :-) such as:

    1. For females, what amount of sexual behavior was consensual?
    2. How common was incest?
    3. How common was homosexual activity?
    • In reply to #15 by LaurieB:

      In reply to #12 by Light Wave:

      why do people always think early sapien was like a modern soldier destroyer ? I dont think humans were so agressive to each other back in those days there was no need …thats a modern territorial behavior in my opinion

      Early sapien and Neanderthals had plenty of mot…

      You certainly are doing a lot of speculating……In my understanding Female chimps are the ones who leave their birth troop to join another troop and are very selective about who fathers their offspring…..This may have been the case with Neanderthal…and human perhaps….
      There were hardly any humans back in the day when they may have confronted Neanderthal…if the two species mated together they probably had a reciprocal relationship…like early farmers had with hunter gatherers….It was in their best interests to learn from each other – not wipe each other out…..that is a post agricultural male mindset….humans were not acting like dominators there were only small bands of humans…who didn’t know how many Neanderthal there were…..Really try to think like a hunter gatherer human from 40,000 years ago….your perspective is entirely modern..

  3. In reply to #16 by LaurieB:

    I agree with that but also, we should not assume that females are sexually passive creatures.

    Keep in mind everything I’m going to say here is about female hunter gatherers not about modern women. I agree they weren’t passive but they were clearly, at least from what we know about reproduction, far more selective than males. There is no reproductive advantage for women to be promiscuous. They never have to worry about not finding someone who will donate some sperm. For females the reproductive advantage was in being selective, not just mating with the nearest man but mating only with those mates who had the best chance to stick around and help with child rearing or to have so much status in the tribe that the children were likely to get plenty of food, etc.

    To mate with a Neanderthal, someone not only outside the tribe but obviously different from normal outsiders, that would be a terrible decision for a female human hunter gatherer, from an evolutionary standpoint. The neanderthal can’t stick around and join the tribe so no help with the kids. And the kids are likely to look different from the rest of the tribe and so much more likely to be rejected.

    • In reply to #17 by Red Dog:

      For females the reproductive advantage was in being selective, not just mating with the nearest man but mating only with those mates who had the best chance to stick around and help with child rearing or to have so much status in the tribe that the children were likely to get plenty of food, etc.

      If as you said, we are talking about Paleo hunter-gatherer bands, I think it safe to assume that food was a group effort. I can’t imagine any member of a band being left to starve except for an extreme form of punishment. Sharing whatever food that was collected or killed is necessary for survival of that group. Don’t forget that much of the gathering of food was done by the females and especially by the older females. How important was it really to be attached strongly to one male for keeping her belly full? I’m thinking that men just weren’t the important source of food that we’ve been led to think they were. Hunting for meat, yes, I really can’t think that females brought down sizable animals and transported them over long distances. How much meat did the Paleo hunter-gatherers eat? It’s an interesting question. I think that the model of females choosing the best provider they can as a father for their children would fit better with a tribal model or a modern “monogamy” model where men want to declare ownership of women as wives. In that situation, a woman’s quality of life and the success of her children with him would be dramatically affected by that formal, publicly acknowledged choice.

      The neanderthal can’t stick around and join the tribe so no help with the kids.

      Addressed above. There would have been plenty of help with kids if we are talking about h.g.’s in the Paleo. Two parents who produce and raise kids separately from the extended family is a fucked up modern day nuclear family model.

      And the kids are likely to look different from the rest of the tribe and so much more likely to be rejected.

      I don’t think they would have looked so different at all. Did Neanderthals look so extremely different from sapiens that their offspring would look weird? From what I’ve read, they were somewhat more rugged than the average sapiens male. What’s not to like about that? Maybe those are just the genes I’d like to pass on to my own sons. In a Paleo context, I think it would be very beneficial to me if I could produce six sons who were bigger than the average guy, rugged and ready to pulverize anyone who looked at us sideways. Then we’ll see who’s going to be rejected. ha!

      There is no reproductive advantage for women to be promiscuous.

      Yes, that’s true, but women don’t have sex just for the reason being that they want to get pregnant. There are other reasons why women have sex. Social maneuvering inevitably involves sex. Human females have fantastic adaptations in this department. Don’t think I’m ungrateful. :-D Think Bonobo…

      • In reply to #18 by LaurieB:

        I can’t imagine any member of a band…

        As Dawkins said in another context, just because you can’t imagine something isn’t an argument that it’s not true. In this case what I’m talking about is pretty basic biology on the evolutionary drivers on mate selection of primitive human males and females, e.g., the work of Robert Trivers. As far as I know it’s pretty much taken as a given by any evolutionary biologist or anthropologist interested in sexual selection in pre-modern humans.

        • In reply to #22 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #18 by LaurieB:

          I can’t imagine any member of a band…

          As Dawkins said in another context, just because you can’t imagine something isn’t an argument that it’s not true. In this case what I’m talking about is pretty basic biology on the evolutionary drivers on mate selection of primit…

          I’ll be sure to avoid using that phrase in the future.

          Keep in mind everything I’m going to say here is about female hunter gatherers not about modern women. I agree they weren’t passive but they were clearly, at least from what we know about reproduction, far more selective than males. There is no reproductive advantage for women to be promiscuous. They never have to worry about not finding someone who will donate some sperm. For females the reproductive advantage was in being selective,

          There is no argument with any of the above and I don’t see any conflict with that and my comment. It’s the food provisioning of offspring by Paleo fathers that I’m not sold on, that’s all. When I said that I “can’t imagine” a member of a band going without food, I base that opinion on my observations of how food is managed in extended families.

          When there are a few adult brothers living with their parents and children all together, the adults bring back food materials for the whole group and the women cook it all together and the food is all consumed by everyone at the same time, in the same place. Meat distribution, if there is any, is controlled by dominant men, granted.

          So this is the model that I think is most probable when I speculate on the nature of human behavior in the Paleo. What I find most improbable is a model of couples who are somewhat monogamous, living together but hunting, gathering, and cooking separately- as couples. Did they all have separate cooking equipment that they carried around? If one couple had a good day foraging and hunting did they and their children sit there around the fire stuffing their faces and watching the other couples suffer with hunger pains? This whole scenario is just not working for me, (because I can’t imagine how it would work! :-D) especially in the era that we are talking about.

          • In reply to #24 by LaurieB:

            In reply to #22 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #18 by LaurieB:

            I can’t imagine any member of a band…

            As Dawkins said in another context, just because you can’t imagine something isn’t an argument that it’s not true. In this case what I’m talking about is pretty basic biology on the evolutionary driver…

            Let’s make sure we are on the same page and are talking about the same thing. I am saying that the hypothesis that someone else mentioned that paleo males were much more likely to mate with neanderthals rather than vice versa makes sense to me. My reason is that when paleo males selected a mate they barely discriminate, they will mate with just about everyone because that is what is to their evolutionary advantage.

            Paleo females on the other hand I contend are more likely to be selective and one of the things they would select for would be status in the tribe so an outsider to the tribe, especially one who looked significantly different from all other males would not be a likely mate.

            I don’t see what sharing food has to do with it really. It seems to me that to reply to my point you have to either argue that paleo females weren’t all that selective, they would pretty much mate with anyone contrary to what Trivers and others say. Or that the selection criteria I describe are wrong.

            BTW, that last part seems like a more reasonable defense. You might say that what paleo females are really selecting for is big strong manly men and that the Neanderthals may have been more macho than the humans so that over rode the fact that they were outsiders for some females. That at least seems like a viable counter hypothesis.

          • *In reply to #27 by Red Dog:

            paleo males were much more likely to mate with neanderthals rather than vice versa makes sense to me.

            Do you mean to say that paleo males are more likely to have sex with neanderthal females than paleo females are to have sex with neanderthal males? -because all males are not selective and all females mostly are selective, right? I’ll agree with that.

            Paleo females on the other hand I contend are more likely to be selective and one of the things they would select for would be status in the tribe so an outsider to the tribe, especially one who looked significantly different from all other males would not be a likely mate.

            A close alliance with an alpha male is a very useful thing for females and if he thinks he’s the father of her offspring then so much the better. In fact, if she can convince other males that they might be the father then she could access their resources too or hold them close enough that they would help her and her children in a tough situation which would mean food and/or protection.

            In my earlier example where I speculated on a liaison between sapiens female and neanderthal male, I was not imagining a pair bond relationship. I was talking about sex. There is no way an outsider male like that would be tolerated to come into a sapiens group, is that what you mean? I realize that your use of the word “mate” might be a source of confusion to me. It can mean a sexual encounter or it can mean a pair bond. So I will say that I can accept that a sapiens female would select a neanderthal male for sex if she had some appreciation for his physical attributes, say, but to select him as a pair bond mate and bring him into the troop, forget about it. I won’t say I think this particular combination was common. Not consensually, anyway.

            I don’t see what sharing food has to do with it really.

            Food has to do with it because you said (comment 17) that food provisioning by males is something that females would select for in a mate:

            For females the reproductive advantage was in being selective, not just mating with the nearest man but mating only with those mates who had the best chance to stick around and help with child rearing or to have so much status in the tribe that the children were likely to get plenty of food, etc.

            I disagreed that females would select males for food provisioning in general but I agree that gifts of meat come from men. They are not the bulk of the diet and not to be counted on. The bulk of the calories come from gathering which is monopolized by females, especially the older ones. Food management in human groups gives important clues as to how their relationships are organized.

            to reply to my point you have to either argue that paleo females weren’t all that selective, they would pretty much mate with anyone contrary to what Trivers and others say. Or that the selection criteria I describe are wrong.

            I don’t like my choices here. I won’t argue against Trivers & others. It’s a given that females are selective. And I agree with most of your selection criteria except for the food thing. I just don’t think pair bonds were as strong as they’re made out to be and I think females had sex with different men for different reasons. It’s complicated.

  4. In reply to #19 by Light Wave:

    In my understanding Female chimps are the ones who leave their birth troop to join another troop and are very selective about who fathers their offspring…>Mating and parenting[edit]

    I was not speculating about the chimps. There is plenty of first hand observation to be had about them. Yes, females leave the troop but no they are not “very selective”, they are promiscuous. Below is a section from Wiki article on common chimps. That the female Bonobos are promiscuous goes without saying but I’ll cut and paste a section on them if you like.

    Common chimpanzee infant and mother

    Chimpanzees mate throughout the year, although the number of females in estrus varies seasonally in a group.[23][50] Female chimps are more likely to come into estrus when food is readily available. Estrous females exhibit sexual swellings. Chimp mating tends to be promiscuous, with females mating with multiple males in her community during estrus.[21] As such, males have large testicles for sperm competition. However, other forms of mating also exist. A community’s dominant males sometimes restrict reproductive access to females. A male and female can form consortship and mate outside their community. In addition, females sometimes leave their communities and mate with males from neighboring communities.[21][51]
    These alternative mating strategies give females more mating opportunities without losing the support of the males in their community.[51] Infanticide has been recorded in chimp communities in Gombe, Mahale, and Kibale National Parks. Male chimps practice infanticide on unrelated young to shorten the interbirth intervals in the females. There are also accounts of infanticide by females. There are questions whether cases of female infanticide are related to the dominance hierarchy in females or are simply isolated pathological behaviors.[21][42]

    Certain other statements I made absolutely are speculations. This is no different from what other commenters have done too! Including yourself! I love when this topic comes up for discussion because I so enjoy tossing speculations back and forth with others. Is there any problem with that? I’ve got to say that I find it particularly thrilling to observe people who are at the top of their fields getting together for the purpose of speculation over questions that have yet to be answered in any number of academic fields. I specifically indicated that I was speculating in my comment number 15 addressed to you. What did you think would happen here, you get to speculate but no one else will? Until the day that someone invents a time machine that will enable us to go back in time and observe life in the Paleo, then most of these threads will inevitably be speculation. I base my speculations on primate behavior, observations of h.g.’s currently alive, tribal societies that are currently alive, and comparative primate anatomy. I think that’s the best anyone could do for sources at the current time. The genome analysis will improve with time. Here are some of your speculations that I would be within my rights to ask you to produce evidence for:

    This may have been the case with Neanderthal…and human perhaps….

    There were hardly any humans back in the day when they may have confronted Neanderthal…

    if the two species mated together they probably had a reciprocal relationship…

    It was in their best interests to learn from each other – not wipe each other out….

    I think it’s safe to conclude that you have a much more optimistic view of archaic humans than I do!

    It was in their best interests to learn from each other – not wipe each other out…..that is a post agricultural male mindset….humans were not acting like dominators there were only small bands of humans…who didn’t know how many Neanderthal there were…..Really try to think like a hunter gatherer human from 40,000 years ago….your perspective is entirely modern..

    Agriculture is a very recent development in human history. It has been around for roughly 10,000 years. Are you saying in that quote above that murderous tribal raiding has only been on the human scene for ten thousand years or less? Were hominids pacifists before agriculture came along?

    Here’s a quick reference paragraph from Wiki that gives timeline for agriculture:

    Neolithic[edit]
    Further information: Neolithic Revolution

    Threshing of grain in ancient Egypt
    The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia first saw the domestication of animals, starting the Neolithic Revolution. Between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago, the ancestors of modern cattle, sheep, goats and pigs were domesticated in this area. The gradual transition from wild harvesting to deliberate cultivation happened independently in several areas around the globe.[11] Agriculture allowed for the support of an increased population, leading to larger societies and eventually the development of cities. It also created the need for greater organization of political power (and the creation of social stratification), as decisions had to be made regarding labor and harvest allocation and access rights to water and land. Agriculture bred immobility, as populations settled down for long periods of time, which led to the accumulation of material goods.[12]
    Early Neolithic villages show evidence of the ability to process grain, and the Near East is the ancient home of the ancestors of wheat, barley and peas. There is evidence of the cultivation of figs in the Jordan Valley as long as 11,300 years ago, and cereal (grain) production in Syria approximately 9,000 years ago. During the same period, farmers in China began to farm rice and millet, using man-made floods and fires as part of their cultivation regimen.[11] Fiber crops were domesticated as early as food crops, with China domesticating hemp, cotton being developed independently in Africa and South America, and the Near East domesticating flax.[13] The use of soil amendments, including manure, fish, compost and ashes, appears to have begun early, and developed independently in several areas of the world, including Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and Eastern Asia.[14]

    • In reply to #23 by LaurieB:

      In reply to #19 by Light Wave:

      In my understanding Female chimps are the ones who leave their birth troop to join another troop and are very selective about who fathers their offspring…>Mating and parenting[edit]

      I was not speculating about the chimps. There is plenty of first hand observation t…

      You seemed to contradict youself about chimps/bonobos….after I pointed out that females are in fact in charge of their own fertile destiny even though they are promiscuous…not the males as you claimed….and humans dont share that same behavior as chimps either as you also stated…..and Yeah I actually do think there was much much less tribal violence beyond 10,000 years ago…there weren’t enough tribes in contact with each other to create any tensions humans aren’t agressive without reason…thats a modern consequence of massive population boom and people claiming land as theirs which prevented natural nomadic behavior…sapien and neanderthal were nomadic…but sapien was the one entering neanderthal territory..
      Sapien likely outnumbered neanderthal….I think mating was in one direction only…..neanderthal females and sapien males…..dont know if this is visible on the neanderthal genome
      We can all speculate but some of us seem to wildy speculate instead of doing some homework first…its tiresome…Id love to have an adult discussion but people keep insisting on wondering if sapien beat up neanderthal to extinction and took their women….its boring and a hollywood cliche…please speculate outside the box……

    • In reply to #25 by Fritz:

      Well it’s easy to see how the genes got in there. Human males will sleep with anything.

      Speak for yourself!!

      Try putting one of these > in front of what the other person said. If you don’t use that to make a difference between what you said and what the other person said then your comment won’t make sense.

  5. This is a very narrow view of how a species died out….I dont think combat would not be on that list…they did look human like and not animal …..it was probably many factors that led to their demise…as you would know if you’d looked up any research on the matter….they were far better adapted to their environment than african sapien Disease pathogens from sapien are highly suspect and of course Simply out numbered for resources by sapien who could breed faster why do people always think early sapien was like a modern soldier destroyer ? I dont think humans were so agressive to each other back in those days there was no need …thats a modern territorial behavior in my opinion

    I was speaking more about how the genes got in there in the first place. There was obviously contact and breeding. Just not sure if all parties were willing.

  6. In reply to #24 by LaurieB:

    So this is the model that I think is most probable when I speculate on the nature of human behavior in the Paleo. What I find most improbable is a model of couples who are somewhat monogamous, living together but hunting, gathering, and cooking separately- as couples. Did they all have separate cooking equipment that they carried around? If one couple had a good day foraging and hunting did they and their children sit there around the fire stuffing their faces and watching the other couples suffer with hunger pains? This whole scenario is just not working for me, (because I can’t imagine how it would work! :-D) especially in the era that we are talking about.

    I don’t think we disagree much. As for the food thing, I was just giving a specific example of the more general point: males aren’t selective but females are and one thing that females select for is the likelihood that their mate (I mean mate just as someone they have sex with) will help with the kids. I probably shouldn’t have gotten so specific because I really have no clue what the various theories are about food sharing, etc. What I DO know is that everything I’ve read recently from Trivers, Pinker and others says that women are the ones that are selective and what they select for is their off spring. Whether selecting for offspring means picking the one who will share the most food, or the one who is closest to the clan leader, or what, I don’t know and I don’t think it really effects the argument, either way I think it supports the initial hypothesis that paleo men were more likely to mate with neanderthal women than paleo women were likely to mate with neanderthal men.

    Although now that I think about it some more the whole argument is pretty weak actually. Because while you can make the case I think that the paleo men are more likely to want to mate with the neanderthals, if you apply the same logic in reverse the paleo neanderthal females are much less likely to want to mate with the paleo human males.

    And I agree the only thing we really can say with confidence is the whole problem is probably a lot more complex.

    • In reply to #31 by Red Dog:

      I’ve read Pinker’s and Triver’s latest books: Better Angels and Folly of Fools. Are these what you’ve been referring to or is there something more recent that I’ve missed? Articles? Hmmm, I wonder what those guys are working on…

      • In reply to #34 by LaurieB:

        In reply to #31 by Red Dog:

        I’ve read Pinker’s and Triver’s latest books: Better Angels and Folly of Fools. Are these what you’ve been referring to or is there something more recent that I’ve missed? Articles? Hmmm, I wonder what those guys are working on…

        It’s been a while since I read the Trivers book and what really impressed me about that book was the stuff about self deception and rationalization. I would guess that some of sexual selection had to be discussed though. For Trivers I think papers such as Parental Investment and Reproductive Success. Although I have to admit I haven’t actually read that yet. I referred to Trivers because I’ve been reading some papers on evolutionary psychology and they all describe the basic model of sexual selection that I outlined and they usually reference Trivers as the guy who first understood it. If you are into this stuff I highly recommend the book The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture. The papers in that book are amazing IMO. The opening paper by Toby and Cosmides really lays out what is wrong with the various approaches to the humanities and social sciences currently in vogue in most US universities and why it needs to be — and should be — scientific rather than some postmodern oasis of bullshit (they say it much more professionally of course).

        There are two sections in that book: Psychology of Mating and Sex and Parental Care and Children that expound on the idea. Not just that idea of course but it’s a key theoretical foundation.

        As for Pinker, I think the idea (that women are the scarce reproductive resource that men compete for) is in most of his books but where I remember it being the clearest was in How the Mind Works, I think that was one of his earliest ones but I liked it a lot, all his books are great though.

        • In reply to #35 by Red Dog:

          The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture.

          I’ll put this one on my list. Sounds good.

          If you haven’t read Mother Nature, Maternal Instincts and How They Shape The Human Species by Sarah Hrdy, I would recommend that book. Really mind blowing. In fact, I love all of her work. Until I read that book, I just didn’t have any way to understand how female primate reproductive strategies work into the scheme of things. Maternal Infanticide, female-female competition, and maternal-offspring attachment all became clear to me when I read that book. The subject matter is a collection of difficult truths but at this point, I can’t see how human sexual selection makes any sense without a straight up acknowledgment of the female side of this story.

          Although I have to admit I haven’t actually read that yet. I referred to Trivers because I’ve been reading some papers on evolutionary psychology and they all describe the basic model of sexual selection that I outlined and they usually reference Trivers as the guy who first understood it.

          haha. I had to laugh when I read that because I haven’t read those papers either. When Trivers was in Boston after Folly of Fools was out, he gave a book talk here that I attended, of course :-). Before he showed up I had purchased the book and was getting started on the first chapter. A college kid sat in the seat next to me and I asked him what had prompted him to come to this book talk. He said he was a student at Harvard, across the street from where we were sitting, and that he had been reading Trivers name so often in citations that he wanted to meet the guy and see him in the flesh. That book talk was very entertaining and I’m sure the guy wasn’t disappointed. Anyway, it’s ridiculous that I haven’t read the actual papers and I resolve to do so forthwith.

    • In reply to #36 by Terra Watt:

      I remain skeptical for now and will assume that we only shared a common ancestor.
      Primarily due to the fact that they went extinct; likely correlation with the arrival of humans.

      I think maybe indirectly…Something like Sapiens migrating to Eurasia and Europe from Africa taking the last of the European Mammoth herds – Mammoth was perhaps what Neanderthal had primarily specialised in and knew nothing else, so numbers of Neanderthal in Europe dwindled fast…even before Sapiens reached Europe ??? There may not have been many meetings between them….But isolated little populations of Neanderthal were eventually forced into inbreeding or Sapien contact…and Sapien had multiplied fast in Europe…I don’t think there was any intention of Sapien to wipe out the Neanderthal…as is always implied….

  7. As a none scientist who is very interested in human evolution I am confused by this statement “The Neanderthal genes make up only about 2 percent to 4 percent of the DNA carried by a given human today.” Given that we humans share about 98% of our DNA with chimps how can we only share 2 to 4 percent of our with Neanderthals? Please let me know what I am missing.

    • In reply to #40 by neroman79:
      >

      As a none scientist who is very interested in human evolution I am confused by this statement “The Neanderthal genes make up only about 2 percent to 4 percent of the DNA carried by a given human today.” Given that we humans share about 98% of our DNA with chimps how can we only share 2 to 4 percent of our with Neanderthals? Please let me know what I am missing.

      Neanderthals also shared most of their DNA with chimps. 2% of human genes are different to chimps. 2 to 4% of exclusively Neanderthal genes are included in some modern humans who evolved outside of Africa.- http://essayweb.net/history/ancient/prehistory.shtml

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