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Neanderthal and Proud

April 28th, 2021 No comments

A little while ago my brother decided to get a DNA test. So far, so good and why not. He discovered, and decided to share with his siblings, without necessarily asking us if we wanted him to, that we were all descended from a mix of the usual British suspects – a bit of Viking, Anglo-Saxon and Celt – and were predisposed to standard diseases and health risks.

But he kept one surprise back to the end. We had double the normal amount of Neanderthal in our genes.

For those who haven’t been keeping up, it’s now well established that we all have a small quantity of Neanderthal genes. This is the result of contact that occurred largely in the Middle East and  Europe when homo sapiens arrived to find Neanderthals already there, sometime before 40,000 BC.  And given that’s a fair while ago, there must been a great deal of what scientists genteelly call ‘interbreeding’ for even some of that still to survive diluted today. Read more…