Sunday, July 24, 2011

Neanderthal/Human Hanky Panky

The Neanderthal in the mirror
A recent paper published in Molecular Biology and Evolution shows the presence of an x-linked haplotype in about 9% of all non-African populations. This would appear to be very strong evidence for significant interbreeding between Neanderthals and non-African populations. 

It is interesting how this plays out in discussions of human origins by non-specialists.  This blog post discusses what the author views as potentially racist interpretations of a related article.  Apparently some people are saying that because non-Africans had access to this additional (Neanderthal) gene pool it might have somehow made them more "evolutionarily advanced".  This is ridiculous. Remember, there weren't any Neanderthals (as far as we know) in Africa, hence it would have been pretty hard for African populations to mate with them, unless we are counting sexting. Clearly any claim that mating with Neanderthals makes you smarter/better/more evolved is just a post-hoc "what-if" claim that has no basis in the actual research.

No comments:

Post a Comment