Modern humans had Neanderthals as their ancestors. But it was not as if the break and distinction was a clean and one-time thing. There was a lot of intermingling and interbreeding.
When modern humans first migrated out of Africa 70,000 years ago, at least two related species, now extinct, were already waiting for them on the Eurasian landmass. These were the Neanderthals and Denisovans, archaic humans who interbred with those early moderns, leaving bits of their DNA behind today in the genomes of people of non-African descent. (source)
Humans’ genome does not just contain the DNA of Neanderthals and Denisovans but also an earlier species.
Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of modern Europeans, or that the recently discovered Denisovans interbred with some older mystery group (source)
There was a time in this planet’s history when multiple human species were walking the earth and would intermingle and work together.
Ostensibly, the humans originating from Africa traveled out roughly 60,000 years back and met Denisovans and Neanderthals on the way. As per the geneticists, Neanderthal DNA and Denisovan DNA is still present in modern-day humans. Read – Denisovans – 18 foot Human Giants who lived 40,000 years back in Asia
Neanderthal DNA makes up approximately 2 percent of the genome of people today of non-African descent, a result of interbreeding that occurred throughout Eurasia beginning 50,000-60,000 years ago. That’s also how they discovered that Denisovan DNA makes up approximately 3 percent of the genome of people in Papua New Guinea and Australia
When humans left Africa, ostensibly they intermingled with Neanderthals and Denisovans. Those folks were already roaming the earth. And it seems we have some of their DNA. Intermingling and copulating with them would have required some level of maturity for any species, isn’t it? Especially with another species of humans who are of very different physical prowess and ways. Heck, even today humans from one country cannot be friends with those of another so easily. One wonders how that relationship was?
Do we know everything about those people?
I have a feeling that the very timeline and understanding of what humans were capable of doing 60,000 years back will change dramatically as we go on.
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