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Scientists get first draft of Neanderthal genome

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posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 12:40 AM

Gene sleuths who have come up with a rough draft of the Neanderthal DNA code said on Thursday the ancient relatives of modern humans shared with us one gene for speech, but little else.

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and 454 Life Science Corp, a Roche company, said they have sequenced more than 60 percent of the entire Neanderthal genome.

Preliminary results confirm what the group had already suspected: that Neanderthals, humanity's closest relative, contributed very little to the gene pool of modern humans.

Full story here -

If its turning out that we don't share as much as we thought with them, that throws a bunch of theorys out the window (the "humans absorbed them into ourselves" theory for example). This could definately change the way we understand and think of Neanderthals... Thoughts?

[edit on 18-2-2009 by Crakeur]

posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 12:58 AM
I don't know. There's this one guy where I work...

But seriously this is going to start/continue a round of interesting arguments amongst paleontologists. I find the implications about speech, which has been a topic of much discussion, pretty interesting. While not proving it, the study shows that our "cousins" could have used speech as a form of communication. This would open the possibility of direct and intelligent inter-species relationships.

[edit on 2/18/2009 by Phage]

posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 01:24 AM
Yes, thoughts, not necessarily "proof." and if thinking about something gets me flamed for being on drugs, then so be it.

Is it then possible that humans as we know them are not native to this planet? There are other possiblities, sure, and I'm open to them, but I feel like our history is a little more than "chimps + time = homo sapiens sapiens," as this genome artice may suggest. Maybe this "extraterrestrial life seeded humans on Earth" thing could hold some water after all.

Yes, the speech gene being in common raises my eyebrow. It means that it's possible that a language as complex sounding as Finnish didn't just come from simplistic grunts about all the snow.

posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 01:40 AM
Hiya Grock,
I've been chewing over this article since last year, it's very deep in it's implications.

Neanderthals, an archaic human species that dominated Europe until the arrival of modern humans about 45,000 years ago, possessed a critical gene known to underlie speech, according to DNA evidence retrieved from two individuals excavated from El Sidron, a cave in northern Spain.

The evidence stems from analysis of a gene called FOXP2 which is associated with language. The human version of the gene differs at two critical points from the chimpanzee version, suggesting that these two changes have something to do with the fact that people can speak and chimps cannot.

The FOXP2 gene is speculated to have spread quickly through both we and the Neanderthals around 350, 000 years ago. I've read recently that they found a single small bone in a Neanderthal fossil palate that indicated the physiology for speech. The FOXP2 gene isn't thought to be the single deciding factor for speech, but a necessity.

They've tried adding our version of FOXP2 to mice. Their communication changed barely perceptibly but the population always dies, so far.

From what I've read this mapping of the Neanderthal genome has removed the theory that Neanderthals were assimilated into our ancestors. One less theory to explain their evolutionary dead end! Nevertheless, the neanderthal and Human genome should encourage more studies into the origins of speech as it reflects a significant leap in our evolution. Was it like a combination lock and the relevant genes needed to undergo millenia of mutation before the door to speech and language communication was opened to us?

posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 04:14 AM
As if inter species communication among humans is a proof of intelligence?

First make sure those standards of comparison with humans are valid. This is all based on human narcissism.

My first thought, if they were unlike us they must have been better and left this doomed planet just in time...

posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 04:20 AM
Y'all have reminded me of an interesting thread i did awhile back:

Neanderthal Man Speaks After 30,000 years -

I found the links in there quite interesting (even if alittle comical).

I get the feeling that the study of Neanderthals will lead us into paths of understanding that we hadn't really thought out before...

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