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Human Evolution. Neanderthals: Coexisted and Interbred With Humans.

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Neanderthals: they coexisted and interbred with humans

Since the mid-nineteenth century, paleontologists have found many fossils of Neanderthals and modern humans in caves located in Europe. The question we all ask is whether these two species coexisted or simply coincided in the same place but at different times.

The French researchers Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel and Pierre Yves Demars concluded in 2000 that while there were populations of Neanderthals and humans coexisting in Europe, these groups were so small, and the territory was so large that they did not mix. There was land for everyone.

They found there was only one area where cohabitation happened, which is in the South of France near the Pyrenees and the Vezere River, between 35 and 27 thousand years ago.

Everything changed when in 2008 appeared the announcement of the full sequencing of the Neandertal genome. In 2010, Svante Pääbo, a Swedish biologist, and geneticist published together with his team of researchers an article that caused a stir worldwide: the Neanderthals had interbred with humans of the time. The evidence is that all non-African humans, from New Guinea, the French, the Chinese, absolutely all, have between 1 and 4% Neanderthal genes.

Since the two species do not share mitochondrial genes, this suggests that it was Neanderthal males who had offspring with human females.

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