"Modern" European humans and Neanderthals may have interbred in the comparatively recent past, suggest Anthroboffins, with the latter contributing a much higher percentage of their stocky DNA to today's humanity than had been thought. Detailed in a letter published in Nature, titled An early modern human from Romania with a …
Never stop learning things on this site. For anyone else unfamiliar with the unit;
In genetics, a centimorgan (abbreviated cM) or map unit (m.u.) is a unit for measuring genetic linkage. It is defined as the distance between chromosome positions (also termed, loci or markers) for which the expected average number of intervening chromosomal crossovers in a single generation is 0.01. It is often used to infer distance along a chromosome. It is not a true physical distance however.
When I was at school we learned that one of the markers of speciation was that you didn't have fertile offspring between different species, which left me questioning how the DNA got here at all. Luckily the internet exists so here is an interesting explanation of how Neanderthal DNA probably got into anatomically modern humans.
"When I was at school we learned that one of the markers of speciation was that you didn't have fertile offspring between different species"
As you've gathered, it's not as simple as that. We're dealing with continuities in time & sometimes in space. Your two non-interbreeding species will be the end points - or more correctly, current points - in separate lines of descent from a common ancestor with the degree of hybrid fertility decreasing with time. But much the same thing can happen in space where a species has an extended range but individuals from populations at the ends of the range can't interbreed although members of adjacent populations within the range can. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species In such circumstances all it would take would be a loss of habitat somewhere in the middle for such a species to split and this may well be the origin of closely related species inhabiting similar environments separated by some distance, e.g. mountains or islands.
It's this fuzziness that gives rise to what you might call metataxonomy - taxonomists are divided into lumpers & splitters.
Yes, Mr Cant, I too was dazzled by the possibility yof a group of Neanderthals being come across by some roving band of mercenary soldiers trying to find a safe winter camp during the Thirsty Years War. Climbing hide into the Carpathians, they find a village of remote, rough-looking people, settle down, the inevitable happens, and later the children come down to learn of canals and Spinoza and weaving and pewter from the smoother humans in the lowlands...
"the possibility of a group of Neanderthals being come across by some roving band of mercenary soldiers"
which is exactly what happened when the Hanoverians went to Scotland and wiped out most of the Highlanders. Who do you think all those red headed Scots are descended from - they're Neanderthals, they even share the same hair and skin pigmentation
And BC and AD still do just fine to define era's.
Really, the Atheist PC history revisionists will have us "learning" that Stalin and Hitler were both nice guys, next. Hey I know, lets change the calendar too so there is less relation to Greek and Roman deities.
As far as "Speciation" is concerned, the Neanderthal type is still going strong. Been to the beach recently and you'd see.
My theory is that the Neanderthals were ideal for cold & wet weather survival throughout the Ice Ages and the less hairy Cromagnon were from later warmer climes where hair was a disadvantage from a heat and insect perspective.
Once they mixed genes, all sorts of regional varietal changes occurred. None of which are individual species as there has been too much intermixing over hundreds of thousands of years to discern much difference. Pigmentation has been used as an excuse to "speciate" the differences between people for too long. Let's make an effort to define where people came from and their ancestors through DNA to help alleviate that issue. I'm willing to bet there is a little bit of everyone in us by now.
<Really, the Atheist PC history revisionists will have us "learning" that Stalin and Hitler were both nice guys, next.>
Hitler was a Catholic.
"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.." -- Hitler
I am quite aware of that. I am also aware that both Hitler and Stalin revised history and religion for their own purposes.
YOU may not be aware that the ravings of a madman (Hitler or Stalin) do not make them relevant to my statement that you quoted, nor does it justify their actions. Lots of people "claim" to be religious, not all of them are.
FWIW The majority of people in Bavaria and Russia were "Catholic" before tyrants co-opted the religion.
I think you'lll find that 'BCE' and 'CE' were first used by Jewish scholars, who of course do not refer to Jesus as Christ (Messiah). Since then, Western culture has thought it useful and courteous to stop describing history by one particular religion, which is a bit off in this day and age. Ideally, we'd re-think and choose a globally-accepted base-point for human history, but that of course will never happen. (I personally would like to have BA and AA -- Before Alphabet and After Alphabet.)
I am mystified that atheists would declare the monsters of history someone sanitised. Do we not understand good and evil? Why woudl we explain away genocide and mass murder? Not believing in a deity does not make you ethics-free.
And since I am not Jewish and not one to mince words; I don't really care who made the change.
I don't recognize it has changed because the ONLY reason for different conventions was due to some PC Atheist Revisionist trying to make it less offensive to some other mental midgets.
Throwing away 2,000 years of historic reference for that reason is personally offensive to ME!
My money would be on the Neanderthals actually being more intelligent.
Modern man was the product of relatively benign Africa where there is relatively plentiful year-round natural food, no need for shelter and no heavy winters to deal with.
Neanderthals had to figure out clothing, shelter and food storage to survive.
We ascribe stupidity to Neanderthals mainly because they got wiped out. But maybe that's just because they were less hostile and slower breeders (as we would now associate with more intelligent modern humans).
Neanderthals had bigger brains, so it's quite possible that they were more intelligent. On the other hand, if they had a different way of thinking, how would you compare their intelligence? Perhaps they were better at some kinds of thinking, worse at others...
Species go extinct for all sorts of reasons. Often it's disease or climate change. In the case of Neanderthals, perhaps they couldn't cope with the global warming.
"We ascribe stupidity to Neanderthals mainly because they got wiped out."
Or their lack of innovation and lower encephalization?
Neanderthals covering broad swaths of land and time - i.e., multiple cultures - stuck to Mousterian tools for 540,000 years. You only see significant evolution of the Mousterian tools (such as into Emireh culture and maybe Chatelperronian industry tools) c40K-30KBC, by which time there was potential overlap of Neanderthal and modern human populations.
While modern humans weren't leaving proof of being ancestors to rocket scientists prior to c50,000BC, they developed tools and arts more rapidly than neanderthals. For example, the modern human Aurignacian culture (c35KBC) showed innovations that Neanderthals never did*: representational art and ranged weapons like spear throwers and bows. It was recently big news that - maybe - the neanderthals scratched cave walls  as art while at the same time modern humans (proto-furries, I guess) made "the lion man"  and various Venus figurines. (*Or haven't yet been found to do.)
Which makes sense. Neanderthals' bigger brains showed less encephalization - the larger nerve mass was controlling a larger body  rather than getting involved in paleolithic hippy liberal arts. "Ifn uh stone axe wer good 'nuff fer great grandpa then it was good 'nuff for kids these days, none of them foo-foo 'bows' and new-fangled 'spear throwers' for Neanderthals, no sir."
Neanderthals weren't dumb brutes: they had fire, they had stone tools, they buried their dead, took care of their sick, and maybe made musical instruments. But archeologists need some big discoveries to show that Neanderthals had the same range of abstract thinking and intelligence as modern humans. (Or I need to improve my Google searches.)
A few other things I gleamed from a documentary about them (so decreasing the credibility) was they lacked the ability to verbalise as well as sapiens (they couldn't produce the same range of sounds) giving them inferior communication abilities and didn't organise themselves into groups as large as human ones. They had much bigger occipital lobes than humans so they're presumed to have better eyesight, though that seems like a bit of a phrenological conclusion.
Anyone check the cave? What do we know of it's history? The cave may have formed 10-20,000 years ago from an upheaval during plate tectonics. For all you know it may have been an ice crevice 10.000 km away that happened to end up in Romania, could have been Switzerland, who knows. Some beings foraging or perhaps hunting fell in and met their doom. Their are too many variables, but the article presents an nice opinion.
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