Researchers are fascinated with Neanderthal genes that have led to postulations about the development of modern day humans.
Scientists state that through inter-breeding with Neanderthals over 50,000 years ago, early humans have inherited DNA that allowed them to adapt to Ice Age conditions.
Other researchers have postulated that Neanderthal DNA assisted the darker humans when leaving Africa to cope with cooler temperatures and less sunlight.
In a new study entitled, “The Genomic Landscape of Neanderthal Ancestry in Present-Day Humans” explores the idea that humans are a mixture of Neanderthal and Homo sapiens.
The researchers wrote: “The antiquity of Neanderthal gene flow into modern humans means that genomic regions that derive from Neanderthals in any one human today are usually less than a hundred kilobases in size. However, Neanderthal haplotypes are also distinctive enough that several studies have been able to detect Neanderthal ancestry at specific location.”
In conclusion, the study reads: “These results suggest that part of the explanation for genomic regions of reduced Neanderthal ancestry is Neanderthal alleles that caused decreased fertility in males when moved to a modern human genetic background.”
When humans are believed to have left Africa for Europe and East Asia, it is assumed that they met up with Neanderthals and the two species mated.
This affected hair and skin color and might have left early humans vulnerable to diseases such as lupus and diabetes.
Some evidence shows that genetic instructions are based in up to 70% Neanderthal contributions.
It is in the genetic differences between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals that scientists are able to decipher what “makes humans human.”
Joshua Akey, lead author of the study and genome scientist at the University of Washington believes that the current portrayal of Neanderthals is that they were brooding and brutish, but has no basis in reality.
Akey said that Neanderthal DNA is devoid of “caveman influence” such as the ability to speak.
It is assumed that while there was inter-breeding, the hybrid males would not have been fertile.
Studies assert that human DNA is 1% to 3% Neanderthal with as much as 20% of Neanderthals genomes being discovered scattered across the general modern day human population.
Previous research claims that Neanderthals are responsible for Homo sapiens’ ability to use tools.
According to new evidence based on specialized tools, crafted from deer ribs that were discovered with Neanderthal dead, these tools were associated with modern humans.
Zenobia Jacobs, co-author of the study said: “It looks like a technology invented by Neanderthals might still be in use more than 50,000 years [later].”
Jacobs further explained: “Based on current evidence we think Neanderthals were there on their own, and they developed this technology on their own.”
In 2013, George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard School of Medicine, is endeavoring to reconstruct Neanderthal DNA in an effort to save humanity in the event of a devastating apocalypse.
Church is actively seeking a female volunteer to have a neo-Neanderthal embryo implanted into her and carry the baby to term as a surrogate mother.
454 Life Sciences first began a project to map the DNA structure of a Neanderthal woman in 2005.
The Max Planck Institute funded the endeavor for more than $1 billion DNA fragments to be extracted from Neanderthal fossils to explain the genetic relationship between the two species that co-existed 100,000 years ago.
With the genetic sequencing nearly complete, this newly discovered blueprint is being hailed as a possible insight into human-like biology. The implications struck Church who is taking this discovery a step further.
He asserted that he is very interested in the idea of resurrecting the Neanderthal because “have lots of Neanderthal parts around the lab. We are creating Neanderthal cells. Let’s say someone has a healthy, normal Neanderthal baby. Well, then, everyone will want to have a Neanderthal kid. Were they super strong or super smart? Who knows? But there’s one way to find out.”
Church explains that scientists “can clone all kinds of mammals, so it’s very likely that we could clone a human. Why shouldn’t we be able to do so?” He suggests that Neanderthals could “be more intelligent than [humans].”