24 July 2011
Posted in DinoDigs
FoxNews.com asks the question, “Is there a little Fred Flintstone in you?” Genetic analysis over the past decade suggests the answer is yes. In 2010, researchers were able to sequence the Neanderthal genome, as well as to the DNA of existing humans who are not from sub-Saharan Africa (including Australia). What the scientists found was evidence that the Neanderthals are to thank for part of our X chromosome, haplotype. Scientists were able to trace our DNA back about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago, the period when modern humans reportedly left Africa. Neanderthals left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago and evolved mostly in what are now France, Spain, Germany and Russia. Neanderthals went “extinct” about 30,000 years ago when they were absorbed by modern human population. Despite the time gap, genetic material from Neanderthals means the two populations interbred.
DiscoveryNews.com explained, “Neanderthals possessed the gene for language and had sophisticated music, art and tool craftsmanship skills, so they must have not been all that unattractive to modern humans at the time.” The research, published in the July issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution, is the result of work by an international team of researchers led by Damian Labuda of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Montreal, and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. The group is continuing their research on the Neanderthal and human connection, but for now, their findings have them saying, “yabba-dabba-do!” Here are some interesting facts about Neanderthals.