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Neanderthals and Humans shared DNA came from common ancestor, not interbreeding

New research suggests that it is more likely that the similarities in DNA between humans and Neanderthals is probably due to having a common ancestor, rather than interbreeding.

In the current study, Cambridge evolutionary biologists Dr Anders Eriksson and Dr Andrea Manica used computer simulations to reassess the strength of evidence supporting hybridisation events.

They argue that the amount of DNA shared between modern Eurasian humans and Neanderthals – estimated at between 1-4% – can be explained if both arose from a geographically isolated population, most likely in North Africa, which shared a common ancestor around 300-350 thousand years ago.

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Story: Jonathan Ball, BBC News | Photo: SPL

3 thoughts on “Neanderthals and Humans shared DNA came from common ancestor, not interbreeding

  1. Headling: “inbreeding”
    Story: “interbreeding”

    There is an important difference between these terms.

  2. This was already the accepted theory until a few years ago. Obviously they share a common ancestor, Homo heidelbergensis, but North Africa was not as geographically isolated as you say, considering it’s the closest part to Europe and the Levant. Additionally, the shared DNA occurs within the non-African population, aka the descendants of those who migrated outside of Africa into Neanderthal inhabited areas in the Middle East and Europe.

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