Fossil evidence for interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans

Lower jawbone discovered in 1957 could be from Neanderthal/modern human hybrid.

Although interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans has been inferred from genetic data, convincing fossil evidence for hybridisation has hitherto been lacking. Continue reading


Study highlights differences in brain organisation between Neanderthals and modern humans

Neanderthals focussed on vision at expense of social networking.

A new study has suggested that there were significant differences in the neurological organisation of Neanderthals and modern humans, reflecting physiological differences between the two species. Neanderthals, as has long been known, were larger and more powerfully-built than modern humans. Consequently, it is suggested that they required proportionately more ‘brain power’ to carry out body maintenance ‘housekeeping’ tasks and control functions. In addition, it is suggested that Neanderthals had larger eyes than modern humans, which also used up brain power Continue reading

Higher levels of Neanderthal ancestry in East Asians than in Europeans

A new study published in the journal Genetics (Wall et al, 2013) has concluded that East Asians have a higher level of Neanderthal DNA than do Europeans. The result implies that there was more than one episode of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals.  After the ancestors of modern Europeans and East Asians separated, the latter population continued to interbreed with Neanderthals.

Given that the Neanderthals are thought to have been a predominantly Western Eurasian species, this result is unexpected. Continue reading