Saturday, February 20, 2016
Humans and Neanderthals may have interbred 50,000 years earlier than previously thought
One hundred thousand years ago, research suggests, a group of Homo sapiens — isolated from their own kind — came across a group of Neanderthals. The rest, as they say, is history — and the proof of their love affair has just been uncovered in ancient DNA.
It wasn't long ago that Neanderthals had a universal reputation for being hulking, idiotic cousins — brutal beasts who couldn't outsmart the modern humans we count as our ancestors. But that's been changing: Now we know that Homo neanderthalensis co-existed with Homo sapiens for thousands of years at a time. There's strong evidence that Neanderthals were more like us than we give them credit for, perhaps even producing art, and many of us carry the DNA signatures of generations of interbreeding between neanderthalensis and sapiens. According to a study published Wednesday in Nature, that interbreeding may have started some 50,000 years earlier than previously assumed...washingtonpost.com