Cousin dating our cousins
Scientists have found that the Neanderthal Y chromosome may have kept the two lineages from successfully interbreeding; the chromosome may have created conditions that frequently led to miscarriages if or when a Neanderthal male and modern human female got together, according to the research published in the April 7, 2016, issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics. Rachel Wood, however, cast doubt on the interbreeding theory.In the study, Fernando Mendez, a population geneticist at Stanford University, and colleagues discovered three mutations on the Y chromosome, of a Neanderthal male, that would have produced molecules that can trigger immune responses from women during pregnancy. Researchers re-examined bones from southern Spain that were used in earlier studies with new radiocarbon dating techniques.Neanderthals typically lived to be about 30 years old, though some lived longer.It is accepted that Neanderthals buried their dead, though whether or not they left carved bone shards as grave goods is more controversial.Neanderthals had some control of fire, and it is even theorized that they built boats and sailed on the Mediterranean.Neanderthals were primarily carnivorous, and the harsh climate caused them to resort occasionally to cannibalism.As time went on, they created tools of greater complexity, utilizing materials like bones and antlers.Evan Hadingham of PBS’s NOVA even reports that Neanderthals used a type of glue, and later pitch, to attach stone tips to wooden shafts, creating formidable hunting spears.
Discoveries of elderly or deformed Neanderthal skeletons suggest that they took care of their sick and those who could not care for themselves.
If humans and Neanderthals didn’t interbreed, the similar genomes of humans and Neanderthals could be the result of both groups having a common African ancestor.
Extinction No one knows exactly why Neanderthals went extinct and why humans survived.
Our well-known, but often misunderstood, fossil kin lived in Eurasia 200,000 to 30,000 years ago, in the Pleistocene Epoch.
Neanderthals’ appearance was similar to ours, though they were shorter and stockier with angled cheekbones, prominent brow ridges, and wide noses.