The evolutionary history of the human race is a popular topic among many researchers, especially when new and fascinating details are revealed. A new ancient DNA study has reinforced previous theories as it argues that the ancestors of the modern humans mingled with Neanderthals across a large number of locations.
When our ancestors traveled away from their ancestral grounds in Africa, they picked up a few genetic traits from other human species. These traces are still present and visible among the genes of modern humans.
A team of researcher has analyzed the genetic structure of hundreds of people of Eurasian descent and observed the traces of genetic traits which are tied to the Neanderthals located in the Altai Mountains region that can be found in Russia.
The discovery is quite surprising since previous research offered similar results, but the Neanderthal genes came from a Croatian population.
Neanderthals and modern human interbred in Eurasia, the new study on ancient DNA showed
The interactions weren’t singular as there are solid hints which infer that different species of hominins interacted regularly. It is clear that many of the interactions resulted in sexual relations between species.
Recent archeological and genomic discoveries revealed that Homo sapiens were quite willing to interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans. Some of the genes which were obtained as a result were quite useful since they protected our ancestors from dangerous viral diseases that could affect the population.
In the present modern analysis has revealed that Neanderthal genes are present among many African populations, a fact that was deemed to be highly improbable in the past.
During the study, the team has managed to isolate and highlight variants at a nucleotide level. The Altai lineage is the oldest Neanderthal lineage, being visible in the case of Asia and late Neanderthals. It is theorized that different populations of Neanderthals were encountered by Homo sapiens as they roamed the world. The study was published in a scientific journal.