New Research Confirms Neanderthals Mated with Other Ancient Humans—Frequently
Is there any doubt now that they were fully human?
Analyses of DNA in human fossils discovered in Europe have found that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals frequently mated some “45,000” years ago and more often than scientists have assumed. As a group, the Neanderthals are thought to have been getting close to extinction at that time.
Two reports on the new research appeared April 7 in Nature Ecology & Evolution.According to the studies, various ancient human groups reached Europe around “50,000” years ago. The evidence suggests Neanderthals interbred with all the human groups studied so far. That is why Neanderthal genes can be found today in modern humans.
The researchers focused on fossils of three H sapiensuncovered in the Bacho Kiro Cave of Bulgaria. In studying DNA from a tooth and two bone fragments, the scientists said about 3-4 percentwas Neanderthal DNA. Stone tools linked to Stone Age humans were found in the same sediment as the fossils.
“All of the Bacho Kiro individuals had recent Neanderthal ancestors, as few as five to seven generations back in their family trees,” team leader Mateja Hajdinjak of the Francis Crick Institute in Londonsaid.Another nearly complete human skull discovered in 1950 in a Czech Republic cave was also found to have Neanderthal DNA, about 2 percent.
Previous research on a “45,000-year-old” Siberian man found that2.3 percent of his genes were Neanderthal. That suggests interbreeding outside of Europe may have occurred as long ago as “60,000” years.
On average, non-African people today carry almost 2 percent Neanderthal DNA. The fact that so much Neanderthal DNA remains in the genes of modern humans despite the belief that many other humans were moving into Europe at a time when Neanderthals were disappearing is surprising to scientists.
Comments: Secular scientists continue to hang on to the notion that Neanderthals were not fully human, a closely related species for sure but not Homo sapiens. Officially, Neanderthalsare classified as Homo neanderthalensisalthough there isan alternate scientific name—Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, a designation which would apparently make thema human subspecies, but human nevertheless.
There should be no doubt anymore that Neanderthals are the same species as we are. According to Googlea species is “a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding.” This story makes it clear that interbreeding between Neanderthals and other ancient humans went on and went on a lot. Would theancient humans have been attracted toNeanderthals if these people did not act andlook like 100 percent humans?
We also know that Neanderthals were far too sophisticatedto be considered grunting, half-witted brutes, as they are sometimes still pictured. We know that among other talents, they could talk, were expert mariners, buried their dead,invented tools, cooked food, and wore make-up and jewelry.
Whereas Neanderthals were not animals, they must have been humans. The Bible does not make any provision for a creature which is part human/part animal. They may have been ancestors to some of us, but they were human ancestors. They were the same created kind as are modern Africans, Asians, Europeans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, etc.
Like other humans, Neanderthals had souls. Did some of them hear and believe the promise of a Messiah/Savior? We will only know the answer to that questionin heaven.
Meanwhile we rejoice that God has made us marvelous physical creatures despite the troubles we have to endure in this sinful world. And He has made us alive alsospiritually, as St. Paul says, “Even when you were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ by forgiving us all our trespasses”(Colossians 2:13).
Reference:Bruce Bower, “Europe’s oldest known humans mated with Neandertals surprisingly often,” Science News [April 7, 2021]. (Artist’s conception of a Neanderthal from zientziakaiera.eus via Bing.)
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QUESTION OF THE DAY
How tall is the world’s tallest tree?
A giant sequoia known as General Sherman stands 275 feet tall, which is about the height of a 25-story building.
Source: Rick Barry, “God’s Gift of Trees,” Kids Answers [April-June, 2021].
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