The Neanderthal In (Some Of) Us

In 2010, scientists made a startling discovery about our past: about 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of living Europeans and Asians. The findings are further evidence that our genomes contain secrets about our evolution that we might have missed by looking at fossils alone. Today, people who are not of African descent have stretches of genetic material almost identical to Neanderthal DNA, comprising about 2 percent of their entire genomes. Researchers also have found a peculiar pattern in non-Africans: people in China, Japan and other East Asian countries have about 20 percent more Neanderthal DNA than do Europeans.

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