Enter Cavemen…

The Neanderthal was a species of human that existed with the modern human up until its extinction 30,000 years ago.  In the past, there has been speculation that the Neanderthal and the modern human may have interbred giving the modern human genes to outlast the grueling European ice age.  

New evidence from Germany disproves this theory.  Scientists report that they have reconstructed  the genome of the Neanderthal.  The analysis inferred that there is no significant trace of Neanderthal genes in modern humans.  

The Neanderthal genome is expected to shed light on human evolution in two ways.  First, when modern humans split from chimpanzees and  secondly changes in the human line after Homo Sapiens diverged from the Neanderthal.  

Furthermore, processing the Neanderthal genome could increase the possibility of bringing the extinct species back to life.  It would cost 30 million with current technology to complete this procedure.  

Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzi, Germany, with a team of scientists conducted most of the research.  They used a new DNA decoding machine that works by analyzing millions of very small fragments of DNA in parallel.  

Dr. Pääbo extracted the first set of Neanderthal DNA ten years ago.  Obtaining Neanderthal DNA is very difficult because most bones have no recoverable DNA and the ones that do are covered in closely related human DNA from scientists and curators handling the bones.  

_44961111_neander2_spl_226inA Neanderthal skull (left) paired next to a modern human skull.

John Reader/Science Photo Library/Photo Researchers, Inc.


~ by awhite2 on November 1, 2009.

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