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Friday, July 19, 2013
Gene breakthrough shows Neanderthals in new light
WHEN Neanderthal bones were discovered in the 19th century, their robust build and heavy brows led palaeontologists to characterise them as brutish, and their name is still pejorative today.
Now the Neanderthal epigenome – the system of on/off switches that modify gene activity – has been deciphered (see "First look into workings of the Neanderthal brain"), allowing us to directly assess the mental life of our extinct cousins for the first time.