Humans, Denisovans & Neanderthals Were Genetically Less Different Than Polar Bears & Brown Bears

A study published a couple days ago in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows us that ancient humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans had more genetic similarities than polar bears and brown bears do. In other words, the genetic distance between our ancient relatives and us was smaller than between pairs of species that are... Continue Reading →

European Women with Neanderthal Progesterone Receptor Gene Are More Fertile

Hugo Zeberg, at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Karolinska Institutet, published an interesting study with colleagues Janet Kelso and Svante Pääbo on Neandertal admixture and its impact on modern day fertility. Diverging from a common human lineage over 600,000 years ago, Neandertals and modern humans began an exchange of genetic material... Continue Reading →

The Oldest European Homo sapiens

Excavations at Bacho Kiro Cave, in Bulgaria Last week Jean-Jacques Hublin, director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Helen Fewlass who is also at MPI, and their colleagues published in the journals Nature and Nature Ecology & Evolution reports of their findings in the Bacho Kiro cave site in Bulgaria. They have... Continue Reading →

Apidima 1 – A New Look At Old Skull

In the 1970's, the Apidima Cave site in Greece was excavated by archaeologists. Lodged within a chunk of rock was the Apidima 1 specimen. It was found adjacent to a distorted 170,000 year old Neanderthal skull called Apidima 2. In the image below you can see how close in proximity the two specimens were discovered.... Continue Reading →

Growing ‘Mini-Brains’ With Neanderthal DNA

Svante Pääbo, director of the genetics department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany wants to grow brain organoids from human stem cells that are edited to contain "Neanderthalized" versions of several genes. These blobs of brain are incapable of thoughts or feelings, but replicate basic structures of the brain, such... Continue Reading →

Five Neanderthal Genomes Tell Us More Than Ever

We've been quite limited by our ancient DNA of Neanderthals due to limited sample size from the fossil record and then compounded with degradation and contamination of DNA. Last week, Nature, published a fantastic article ultimately from Svante Pääbo and Janet Kelso on a novel way to extract more DNA from less fossil sample; using... Continue Reading →

World’s Oldest Cave Art Made By Neanderthals

In two new studies, published yesterday in Science and Science Advances, researchers Alistair Pike, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, João Zilhão, a University of Barcelona archaeologist and Dirk Hoffmann, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology who specializes in dating minerals lay out the case that 65,000 year old murals and 115,000 year old... Continue Reading →

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