DNA from early Euro­pean jaw bone shows re­cent Ne­an­derthal an­ces­tor

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

In 2002, ar­chae­ol­o­gists dis­cov­ered the jaw­bone of a hu­man who lived in Europe about 40,000 years ago. Ge­neti­cists have now an­a­lysed an­cient DNA from that jaw­bone and learned that it be­longed to a mod­ern hu­man whose re­cent an­ces­tors in­cluded Ne­an­derthals.

Ne­an­derthals lived in Europe un­til about 35,000 years ago, dis­ap­pear­ing at the same time mod­ern hu­mans were spread­ing across the con­ti­nent. The new study, co-led by Howard Hughes Med­i­cal In­sti­tute (HHMI) in­ves­ti­ga­tor David Re­ich at Har­vard Med­i­cal School and Svante Pääbo at the Max Planck In­sti­tute in Ger­many, pro­vides the first ge­netic ev­i­dence that hu­mans in­ter­bred with Ne­an­derthals in Europe. The sci­en­tists re­ported their find­ings in the June 22, 2015,

is­sue of the jour­nal Na­ture. “ e know that be­fore , years ago, the only hu­mans in urope were Ne­an­derthals. Af­ter , years ago, the only hu­mans in Europe were mod­ern

hu­mans. This is a dra­matic tran­si­tion,” Re­ich says. There is ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence that mod­ern hu­mans in­ter­acted with Ne­an­derthals dur­ing the time that they both lived in Europe: changes in tool mak­ing tech­nol­ogy, burial rit­u­als and body dec­o­ra­tion im­ply a cul­tural ex­change be­tween the groups. “But we have

very few skele­tons from this pe­riod,” Re­ich points out. The phys­i­cal fea­tures of the jaw­bone were pre­dom­i­nantly those of mod­ern hu­mans, but some Ne­an­derthal traits were also ap­par­ent and the an­thro­pol­o­gists pro­posed that the bone might have be­longed to some­one de­scended from both groups.

“It’s an in­cred­i­bly un­ex­pected thing,” Re­ich says. “In the last few years, we’ve doc­u­mented in­ter­breed­ing be­tween Ne­an­derthals and mod­ern hu­mans, but we never thought we'd be so lucky to find some­one so close to that event.”

A taken from a , -year-old mod­ern hu­man aw­bone from the ca e e tera cu ase in oma­nia re­veals that this man had a Ne­an­derthal an­ces­tor as re­cently as four to six gen­er­a­tions back.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.