Archaeological Science as Game-Changer: What ancient genes tell us about who we are
Research at the University of Vienna could solve mystery of human evolution
By: University of Vienna
Our ancient cousins are more present in modern human DNA than we thought: Modern humans possess a small proportion of genes from archaic groups like Neanderthals. Every person having a European or Asian background has an average of two percent of Neanderthal DNA in their blood. For persons having an African background, this number is smaller. This explains not only some genetic dispositions in modern humans, it is also proof that different human species had contact more than 40,000 years ago.
HOMO SAPIENS: THE ONLY SPECIES LEFT OF EIGHT OR MORE?
Examining ancient fragments of bone and teeth is the daily business of molecular archaeologists Tom Higham and Katerina Douka. The two have worked together with others for the last 15 years to understand more about what happened in the crucial Palaeolithic period, or Old Stone Age. It is likely that there were at least eight different species of humans on Earth (perhaps even more) between 150,000-30,000 years ago – and they sometimes exchanged genetic material through inter-breeding. "Today is a very unusual time in terms of human evolution". Tom Higham explains, "For several million years, we shared the planet with different groups of hominins related to us and now it is just us, as well as our great ape cousins".
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What ancient genes tell us about who we are (https://rudolphina.univie.ac.at/
Dr. Barbara Bauder
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