Thursday, November 21, 2013

Confirmed: humans are mutts

We finally have confirmation for scientists' hypothesis that early humans interbred with other pre-human species. And it wasn't only one species -- humans were interbreeding with several species.
All humans whose ancestry originates outside Africa have about 2 percent Neanderthal genomes, and some Oceanic humans, such as Papua New Guineans and Australian Aboriginals, have about 4 percent of their DNA from interbreeding between their human ancestors and Denisovans, whose remains were found in a cave in Siberia’s Altai Mountains.
Wait, it gets even better:
But researchers said the new genomes also suggested that Denisovans interbred with another extinct population of ancient humans who lived in Asia more than 30,000 years ago, and scientists are left guessing who they might have been.
“We don’t have the faintest idea,” says Chris Stringer, a paleoanthropologist at the London Natural History Museum.
Humans = mutts. I say we celebrate this news by picking up a mixed-breed puppy at our local shelter. Aw, look at him. He's so cute!