Plants and Animals

Oldest DNA From Modern Humans In Europe Suggests Recent Neanderthal Ancestors

Oldest DNA From Modern Humans In Europe Suggests Recent Neanderthal Ancestors

Homo sapiens established themselves in Europe about 45,000 years ago. We know very little about this first wave of migrants, but two studies of the oldest modern human DNA have revealed a few clues. In this context, “modern man” is use to refer to the people associated with us and to distinguish them from Neanderthals who have already lived in Europe for 200,000 years. Still, this difference is a somewhat vague line.
As we know, people today, if their predecessors were not exclusively African, inherited some Neanderthal DNA, sometimes at their expense. This kind of connection has already taken place while three people representing our oldest European fossils live in the Bacho Kiro Caves in Bulgaria. These three individuals date from 46,000 to 42,500 years ago. All three had 3-3.6 percent Neanderthal DNA, which was a new paper in the Nature Report. 

The way in which DNA is distributed to other populations through the genome can tell us more than the raw percentage in most cases. The position of the Neanderthal gene, co-authored by Matjea Hajdinjak of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, concludes that the Neanderthal ancestors of cave dwellers were quite recent, with only five or six generations for one person, two for seven. The earliest evidence of Neanderthal genes entering the modern human line is 50-60,000 years ago. This discovery and comparison with the DNA of other discoveries, the authors think that Neanderthal / modern human compatibility may be more common than we perceive.

Single Neanderthal ancestors whose genes have not proven to particularly permanent may represent many battles across the division of our inheritance from them. Although the inhabitants of Bacho Kiro are the oldest human Europeans of whom we have evidence, their ancestors may not have stuck in the vicinity. Hajdinjak said their closest surviving relatives are not in Bulgaria or Western Europe, but in East and Central Asia and even America. It seems at one point the Bacho Kiro descendants moved east, and some continued as far as the Pacific Ocean. 

A related paper from Nature Ecology and Evolution explores DNA obtained from the skulls of modern humans in the Czech genocide. This person Bacho Kiro was probably possible before the three but radiocarbon dating failed due to pollution, leaving a small part of our age.