There is a little Neanderthal in most of us, according to an international team that has added an intriguing twist to human ancestry.
The cave dwellers interbred with "modern" humans shortly after they left Africa, say the scientists, who have extracted genetic evidence from bones found in a Croatian cave. That means people of European, Asian and Australasian origin have Neanderthal DNA, but not Africans. Their analysis shows that one to four per cent of all the DNA in people of non-African ancestry originated with our thickbrowed cousins, Vancouver Sun informs.
"This shows that the Neanderthals are part of our ancestry as well," explained Ralf W Schmitz, a University of Bonn scientist who took part in the study. Neanderthal bones have been discovered down the years at 300 places in Europe and Asia.
Historians have speculated that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis hunter-gatherers made war with one another, but the finding shows they made love too, and could have mixed children. That probably happened in the Middle East, where archaeological excavations show the populations existed side by side between 80, 000 and 50, 000 years ago. The mixed children spread to Asia and Europe, Times LIVE reports.