We Humans Are A Mongrel Species

Jan 2016
OMG.. you do understand NEANDERTHALS ARE NOT A DIFFERENC SPECIES.. and you call me stupid

OH you mean the people that Cain went to live with... OOPS, you are proving the Bible is correct.
Neanderthal - Wikipedia

As you can see......if you bother to read......there is ongoing debate about whether (or not) to regard Neanderthals as a separate species. Most of the geneticists see enough differences between the modern human genome and the Neanderthal genome to justify designation of the Neanderthals, and these other archaic human groups, as distinct species, hence Homo neanderthalensis.

P.S. Where did I call you stupid?
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Former Staff
Dec 2013
You think? Something sophisticated like Hellenism didn't come about until the last 3000 years. The Rape of the Sabine Women came first. (Yes, it's a myth, but myths come from somewhere...)
They do, but they are also a much more dramatic and compelling stories than “pre literate nomads intermarried with other preliterate nomads after a battle over who would be the leader.”

Myths are also ways to explain and justify our values and our brutality now by telling stories that take place in the past. They’re not exactly archeological documentaries. Or maybe I misunderstood?
Nov 2007
Prague, Czech Republic
Not even EQUAL. If my ancestors left Africa, moved into the Middle East, then moved NW into Europe (which is apparently what they did), they won't share species genes from proto-humans in east Asia.
This is far too simplistic a way of thinking about it. When some of your ancestors moved into Europe, they did not build a big wall from Bulgaria to the Baltic and cease all further intercourse with non-European peoples. It's important to remember that some of the distinctive DNA haplogroups identified in Palaeolithic Europeans are not found in modern Europeans; while which are common today clearly arrived after the Palaeolithic. There was definitely a large population movement into Europe associated with the Neolithic revolution; and there are many recorded historical arrivals.

In order for a northern European to trace their descent to a prehistoric south-east Asian population, you don't need any population movements out of south-east Asia. All you need is someone in south-east Asia to mate with someone slightly further north, then their offspring a few generations later to mate with someone slightly further north; and so on for millennia until some of Atilla the Hun's army are settling down and melding with the local population in Central Europe and ensuring that all today's Europeans are distant descendants of their south-east Asian ancestors from 40,000 years previous.

Now, whether you actually carry any DNA from such populations is much harder to say, and heavily dependent on chance. Large parts of the genome are identical amongst all humans, so tracing the exact descent of these bits is impossible, and bascially irrelevant. Any selectively advantageous mutations that introgressed from these ancient populations, however, could well have spread widely and survived into the genetic makeup of modern populations far separated from their origin.
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Jul 2013
Nashville, TN
It doesn't make sense to suggest we are all descended from all of them. The OP suggests that everyone has some Neanderthal and Denisovan, but there's no evidence that humans all migrated to SE Asia and then migrated back to the rest of the Old World.

I know that European humans have MORE Neanderthal genes than people from other places. I'm like 86% more Neanderthal than average.
All of us are mixed genetically, the mix is just different from person to person. There is no "pure race", no matter how much white supremacists wish it were so.
Nov 2007
Prague, Czech Republic
Some of the wording in the linked article was a surprise to me, especially this paragraph:

"For example, all present-day populations show about 2% of Neandertal ancestry which means that Neandertal mixing with the ancestors of modern humans occurred soon after they left Africa, probably around 50,000 to 55,000 years ago somewhere in the Middle East."

My previous understanding was that modern Africans showed no traces of Neanderthal admixture. If this sentence above is correct, it implies some significant degree of back-migration into Africa AFTER interbreeding with Neanderthals in the Middle East between 55,000 to 50,000 years ago.....
No one ever argued that Africans showed no trace of Neanderthal ancestry. That's an impression due to poor media reporting. It's in principle extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to demonstrate zero ancestry. How do you demonstrate whether DNA universally shared by all modern humans and also shared by Neanderthals is shared due to original common ancestry or later admixture?

The idea that Africans share no ancestry comes from a misunderstanding of how Neanderthal admixture was first estimated - it was done by comparing the difference in number of alleles shared by Neanderthals and various human populations. Because non-African populations shared more with Neanderthals than Africans did, it implies interbreeding outside Africa.

But you can do the same thing looking only at African populations - some African populations share more DNA with Neanderthals than others do. And this in a way should be obvious. Back-migration into Africa is not news. Large parts of the African continent speak Semitic languages; and some think all Afroasiatic languages originated in the Middle East.
Jul 2013
The concept of "species" does get a little slippery around the edges, doesn't it? Generally we take "species" to mean organisms that cannot mate and produce fertile offspring -- and most of the time this definition works just fine. For most eukaryotes, at least... But then we have outliers. We have populations who have rather different genotypes and phenotypes and yet nevertheless can interbreed and produce fertile offspring, they just normally don't because of their normal environment/behavior. Grizzly Bears and Polar Bears are a great recent example. There are other examples.

But yes, there's ample evidence to suggest that our ancestors have split and recombined numerous times. That's hardly surprising or unexpected, is it? We humans are fairly... sociable, are we not?

I'm sure I've shared this before, but some twenty-plus years ago, back when the controversy over interbreeding between Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis was just heating up, so to speak, I recall reading an article by some learned anthropologist who was quite convinced that modern humans and Neanderthals would almost certainly never have interbred because the physical differences between the two groups were such that individuals from one group simply couldn't have found the other group sexually arousing.

Yeah, there's a guy who never spent much time on the Internet.

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