Why Does It Matter If Homo sapiens Had Sex With Neanderthals?

Evidence has been piling up for a while that early humans in Europe had children with the Neanderthals who had been living there for probably 500 thousand years before humans arrived. Very few Neanderthal genes are left in humans today, so what difference does it make? A lot, both genetically and philosophically. » 4/02/14 8:48pm 4/02/14 8:48pm

How did Neanderthal genes affect humanity? Here are some answers.

If you're a non-African person, you've got a little Neanderthal in your genome. In fact, maybe you have some other hominins in there, too. But just what kind of genetic legacy did some of us inherit from the Neanderthals? Two new scientific papers provide some intriguing hints. » 1/29/14 2:55pm 1/29/14 2:55pm

A gene variant that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in Latin Americans may have been inherited from Neanderthals. People who carry the higher risk version of the gene, named SLC16A11, are 25% more likely to have diabetes than those who do not, and 50% more likely if both parents have it. Yet another thing we can… » 12/26/13 7:20am 12/26/13 7:20am

Did Neanderthals Talk Like Humans?

It's easy to think that Neanderthals were dumb brutes, incapable of complex speech like us. But it turns out that a Neanderthal's hyoid — a small bone in the neck that supports the tongue and is crucial for speech — worked in a very similar way to your own hyoid. Does this mean they could talk like (and with!) humans? » 12/24/13 1:40pm 12/24/13 1:40pm

Modern humans are still carrying Neanderthal viruses

Neanderthals and Denisovans may be long gone, but their viruses continue to live on inside our bodies. The geneticists who discovered these ancient viruses aren't sure if they're bad for us, but they could make us more susceptible to certain cancers. » 11/19/13 3:40pm 11/19/13 3:40pm

Early Humans May Have Ripped Off Neanderthal Technology

By the time modern humans arrived in Europe, Neanderthals had already made the continent their home. What’s more, they were already adopting behaviors that would later be characteristic of humans — including the development of a specialized tool still used by leather craftspeople today. » 8/13/13 8:00am 8/13/13 8:00am

More evidence that Neanderthals made jewelry and art

Neanderthals have a reputation as grunting dimwits who lived animalistic lives in caves. But modern scientific discoveries have changed this picture dramatically. The latest discovery to overturn this myth offers evidence that Neanderthals painted shells like this one, and kept them as art or jewelry. » 7/17/13 5:00pm 7/17/13 5:00pm

A long anthropological debate may be on the cusp of resolution

Over the past half-century, our understanding of human evolution has changed dramatically. And now, it seems that one of the outstanding debates about Homo sapiens has become a lot more complicated — because both sides may be right. » 6/18/13 11:00am 6/18/13 11:00am

Skeletal Remains of Neanderthal/Human Hybrid Found

The skeletal remains of an individual living in northern Italy about 40,000 to 30,000 years ago are believed to be that of a love child produced by a human-Neanderthal couple, according to a paper in PLoS ONE. If further analysis proves the theory correct, the remains belonged to the first known such hybrid, providing… » 3/28/13 8:20am 3/28/13 8:20am

Researchers Sequence Full Neanderthal Genome

By extracting the DNA from a well-preserved toe, scientists in Germany have completed the first high-quality sequencing of a Neanderthal genome. It’s a significant improvement over a partial attempt made in 2010 — one that is now freely available online for other geneticists to study. » 3/20/13 7:40am 3/20/13 7:40am

Neanderthals may have mostly died out before Homo sapiens came to…

An updated radiocarbon dating technique has thrown our conceptions of when Neanderthals died out into question. A new paper in PNAS is suggesting that Neanderthals disappeared considerably earlier than previously thought — a resetting of the anthropological clock that calls into question whether our human ancestors… » 2/05/13 4:00pm 2/05/13 4:00pm