Were Neanderthals Just People Like You and Me?: A Recent Mitochondrial DNA Study Says NO

According to an article on the Discover magazine website, scientists have recently sequenced the mitochondrial DNA of a Neanderthal.

Their finding: Neanderthals were substantially different, genetically, from modern humans, and probably rarely, if ever, interbred with us.

Our two lineages seem to have diverged more than 600,000 years ago. Genetically, Neanderthals could probably be said to have been a different species from humans.

Money quote from the article (attributed to biologist John Hawk):

Humans are all more similar to each other, than any human is to a Neandertal. And in fact the Neandertal sequence is three or more times as different, on average, from us as we are from each other.

Here’s the link to the full article: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2008/08/08/neanderthal-dna-shows-they-rarely-interbred-with-us-very-different-humans/

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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