Jeffrey D Wall and Michael F Hammer
Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
October 5th, 2006
[Blog note: This paper was written nine years ago. It's interesting to read, especially in light of the Oase 1 findings that this 40,000 year old human had a Neandertal ancestor within four to six generations.]
One of the enduring questions in the evolution of our species surrounds the fate of ‘archaic’ forms of Homo. Did Neanderthals go extinct without interbreeding with modern humans 25–40 thousand years ago or are their genes present among modern-day Europeans? Recent work suggests that Neanderthals and an as yet unidentified archaic African population contributed to at least 5% of the modern European and West African gene pools, respectively. Extensive sequencing of Neanderthal and other archaic human nuclear DNA has the potential to answer this question definitively within the next few years.