45,000-year-old human genome reconstructed
By T.K. Randall
October 23, 2014 · 4 comments
Modern man is thought to have interbred with the Neanderthals. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Tim Evanson
Scientists have revealed new details about our prehistoric ancestors thanks to a fossil thighbone.
The bone, which was discovered along Siberia's Irtysh River by fossil collector Nikolai V. Peristov, has been used to reconstruct the oldest genetic record ever obtained from a modern human.
This prehistoric genome has also helped to reveal what many scientists had believed to be the case all along - that our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and that this is likely to have first taken place between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago.
"Itís irreplaceable evidence of what once existed that we canít reconstruct from what people are now," said paleoanthropologist John Hawks. "It speaks to us with information about a time thatís lost to us."
The Neanderthals, who first appeared between 200,000 and 250,000 years ago, are believed to have gone extinct around 40,000 years ago due to reasons that are still not fully understood.
Source: New York Times
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