Early Modern Humans Had Sex with Extinct Relatives

Early Modern Humans Had Sex with Extinct Relatives

It seems that early modern humans practiced what modern males are always accused of wanting to do;  Have sex with anything that moves.

Improved genome sequencing revealed that early modern humans had sex with Neanderthals, a relatively unknown line of archaic humans called Denisovans and a third, mysterious lineage of ancient humans.

Modern humans weren’t the only ones getting down and dirty with other lineages.  It seems that there was a fair amount of interbreeding between archaic humans as well.

“What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a Lord of the Rings-type world — that there were many hominid populations. – Mark Thomas,  Evolutionary Geneticist”

The new sequencing also indicates that the Denisovans were especially promiscuous, interbreeding with modern humans, Neanderthals, ancestors of West Pacific Islanders and East Asians, and yet another extinct lineage of archaic humans.

According the genetic analysis, all this interbreeding seems to have occurred post African migration.  In fact, all populations whose ancestors originated outside of Africa can attribute 2 percent of their genetic data to Neanderthals, while certain S0uth Pacific populations share about 4 percent of their DNA with Denisovans.

The recently discovered mystery human genome has led to a myriad of theories regarding the origins, identity and makeup of the unknown extinct relatives of modern humans. Chris Stringer, a paleo-anthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London, summed up the competing theories best: “We don’t have the faintest idea”, he said.

[Live Science] [Nature]

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