Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ancient Incest Uncovered in Neanderthal Genome

Data obtained from a Neanderthal woman's toe bone points to incest and inbreeding among early humans, an international genetics team reported on Wednesday.
The fossil's genetic map, or genome, reported from Denisova cave in Siberia's Altai Mountains dates to more than 50,000 years ago. The cave was home at separate times to both Neanderthalsand the so-called Denisovans, two sister families of now-extinct early humans. (See also "New Type of Ancient Human Found.")
Adding to increasing evidence of a tangled human family tree, the new Neanderthal genome study released by the journal Nature also suggests that another previously unknown archaic human species shared its genes with some of our ancestors. The study authors suggest that it wasHomo erectus, one of the earliest human species, which first arose around 1.8 million years ago. (See also "Why Am I a Neanderthal?")
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