It Turns Out We Might Not be Descended From Neanderthals After All

By Jon Partridge on at

According to some scientists, similarities between the DNA of modern people and Neanderthals are more likely to have come from shared ancestry, rather than interbreeding as previously thought.

Evolutionary biologists Dr Anders Eriksson and Dr Andrea Manica from the University of Cambridge have published their new thoughts and theory on the matter this week in PNAS journal. They found that the amount of DNA shared between modern humans and Neanderthals, which is estimated at a slim percentage of 1-4 per cent, most likely comes from a common ancestor instead of humans and Neanderthals getting... busy.

Using a bunch of computer simulations, the doctors took another look at the strength of evidence that supported hybridisation events. They believe that it could be explained if we both came from a isolated area such as North Africa, and shared a common ancestor over 300 thousand years ago. One group then may have moved north to become ancestors of the Neanderthals, and the second might have moved south to become the ancestral population that would then become Homo sapiens, which emerged from Africa, around 70,000 years ago. Well, who knows, it's still a theory anyway. [Daily Mail]