Did modern humans breed with multiple related species?

Brian G Turner

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A piece on New Scientist offers speculation rather than fact:

The idea of humans interbreeding with Neanderthals was dismissed until early in the 21st century, when genetic analysed proved it was the case.

We also have intriguing genetic evidence of humans around the Pacific interbreeding with another - and still mysterious - related species, named Denisovans.

And now there's a tantalising suggestion from China of humans interbreeding with yet another related species in China:

New species of human may have shared our caves – and beds

It's increasingly suggested that humans are anything but a pure genetic lineage.

IMO the big question is how much do the genetic variances within the human population depend upon these genetic traces from related species. For example, the pale skin and hair colouring of Northern Europeans makes no biological sense, but it might do so if inherited from Neanderthals.
 
Given that some people have tried it with a variety of improbable objects and animals, well obviously if interbreeding is possible, it was done.
 
It makes perfect sense that humanity (or the forebears of) would crossbreed where there was sufficient geographical distribution to allow for variations in our evolution to arise. Humans spread over a wide area would indeed start to evolve down a different genetic pathways and whilst we are a highly mobile species, in the past reduced mobility would have resulted in increased genetic differences arising over time. So certainly there would have been very genetically different species that would cross breed back then.
 
For example, the pale skin and hair colouring of Northern Europeans makes no biological sense,
The pale skin does for vitamin D from daylight. Africans in northern latitudes much more easily have rickets.
There is more to hair types than colouring. The paler colours and ginger are different kind of hair too. Eye and hair colour are actually quite separate genetically, it's just that the same ethnic groups tend to have the rarer eye colours and hair colours.

The sebum [sp?] from skin pores doesn't coat typical African or the coarse Asian style hair the same way as finer typical paler European hair. This may be significant in damper climate?

Blond and Ginger hair and eye colours colours such as blue, grey and green may simply be mutations, they are quite rare world wide. The eye colour spread as far as Berbers of North Africa from Europe. The ginger hair most common with Finns, Irish and Scots is also historically in Middle East and I think one central European/North West Asian region (Celts were as far flung as Balkans and Anatolia, aside from issue of were they came from. Celtic language is related to Hebrew and Arabic and no other spoken language, though some root words match some Hittite and Indian roots). Finnish Language isn't Scandinavian, Hungarian is more related. Proto Celts are Bronze Age 2000BC to 500BC.

EDIT
Hair: Mentions pale skin being needed for vitamin D nearer poles
Hair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(also has hair type classification table)

Human hair color - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eye color - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elsewhere I did more detailed musing on hair and eye colour. I was convinced ginger hair and green eyes was connected based on my own observation of noticing green eyed ginger people I met and know. There is no such such GENETIC connection (separate genes), though the combination is statisticaly likely due to both genetic aspects both found historically together in the same few ethnic groups.
 
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The pale skin does for vitamin D from daylight.

IIRC I've seen this argument challenged, and the counter argument made that pale skin offers absolutely no evolutionary advantage. Additionally, that dark skin is in fact more efficient at developing Vitamin D than fair skin.

All I can find on that is a BBC article about fair-haired people being naturally deficient in Vitamin D:
Fair-skinned people may need extra vitamin D - BBC News

I've not seen anything in the scientific press as yet to defy the notion of Neanderthals as blonde/red-haired and blue-eyed. However, the whole idea that homo sapiens bred with Neanderthals has only found general acceptance in the past decade or so (but had been suggested long ago enough for Jean Auel to make it a part of her Earth's Children series, the first book of which was first published around 1980), so I'm expecting to see further developments from this.
 
Occam's razor: Forget strange North European Mutations ... If Neanderthals commonly had fair or ginger hair and blue or green Eyes, then the explanation as to why these world wide originate with a few ethnic groups seems obvious.
It's quite clear that if any particular union is fertile, then the interbreeding takes place. After all in more recent times we see it where there are huge barriers of bigotry against it. It isn't always consensual. So I can see no difficulty with the idea.
 
I have often wondered at the disparity between a multiplicity of Origin Stories, and the idea that all humans came from one place on earth to populate the whole of it.

I think that we should take a closer look at the various Origin Stories and other myths to find out what was going on in the past rather than just dismiss them as nonsense.

That interbreeding was going on can also be noted in that it was admonished against by some ancient peoples.
 
a closer look at the various Origin Stories
Genesis 6:4
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
(It's a "modern" idea that the sons of God were Angels, Orthodox Judaism says it refers to humans. The New Testament also says Angels don't have sex. It's not clear if the Nephilim are the offspring or the sons of god in the text. Perhaps they were Neanderthals or some other species of human. They are not a tribe, c.f. Anak. Some Anakim supposed to be Nephilim Nephilim - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

However the extreme south eastern range of Neanderthals did just include Israel. Neanderthals were probably of heavier build and stronger than homo sapiens.
220px-Carte_Neandertaliens.jpg

Sites were bones etc are found includes Israel.

The Celts might be unique in world culture in lacking preserved Origin Stories. The more important something was, the less the Druids agreed with writing it down! There are hints though of intermarriage between earliest peoples and some other peoples. Humans started moving to Ireland shortly after the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago from Europe. But the Neanderthals supposed to have died out about 40,000 years ago, though "Humans- Homo sapiens" had perhaps been in Europe 45,000 years ago.
The exact date of their extinction had been disputed but in 2014, a team led by Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford used an improved radiocarbon dating technique on material from 40 archaeological sites to show that Neanderthals died out in Europe between 41,000 and 39,000 years ago. This coincides with the start of a very cold period in Europe and is 5,000 years after Homo sapiens reached the continent
Prehistoric Ireland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neanderthal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Can oral traditions or tribal memories be passed down for 40,000 years?

I'm sceptical (what's new there?) that any origin story preserves such old history. However not long ago I read an article about the legends of various tribes had indeed preserved memories of volcanic eruptions, tsunamis etc. Some stories in Genesis are similar to ancient Babylonian and Sumerian tales. The Sumerian archaic (pre-cuneiform) writing and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3200 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC.
Can any written account (4500 years old max) passing to us have preserved 40,000 year old knowledge?
 
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There is a theory doing the rounds that in at least one case a human bred with a time lord. But no-one is really quite sure.
 
About 4 percent of our DNA is Neanderthal, they're still with us. :)

I read this somewhere as well. It is mostly Europeans that have 4% Neanderthal in their DNA, though, I read. Is is everyone, or just Europeans who have this 4% in their DNA?
 
Genesis 6:4

(It's a "modern" idea that the sons of God were Angels, Orthodox Judaism says it refers to humans. The New Testament also says Angels don't have sex. It's not clear if the Nephilim are the offspring or the sons of god in the text. Perhaps they were Neanderthals or some other species of human. They are not a tribe, c.f. Anak. Some Anakim supposed to be Nephilim Nephilim - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

However the extreme south eastern range of Neanderthals did just include Israel. Neanderthals were probably of heavier build and stronger than homo sapiens.
220px-Carte_Neandertaliens.jpg

Sites were bones etc are found includes Israel.

The Celts might be unique in world culture in lacking preserved Origin Stories. The more important something was, the less the Druids agreed with writing it down! There are hints though of intermarriage between earliest peoples and some other peoples. Humans started moving to Ireland shortly after the last Ice Age, about 11,000 years ago from Europe. But the Neanderthals supposed to have died out about 40,000 years ago, though "Humans- Homo sapiens" had perhaps been in Europe 45,000 years ago.

Prehistoric Ireland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neanderthal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Can oral traditions or tribal memories be passed down for 40,000 years?

I'm sceptical (what's new there?) that any origin story preserves such old history. However not long ago I read an article about the legends of various tribes had indeed preserved memories of volcanic eruptions, tsunamis etc. Some stories in Genesis are similar to ancient Babylonian and Sumerian tales. The Sumerian archaic (pre-cuneiform) writing and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest true writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400–3200 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC.
Can any written account (4500 years old max) passing to us have preserved 40,000 year old knowledge?

I find this information very interesting! About 20 years ago I wrote a book called Star Gods in which a third of the way through a race of (immortal) humanoid aliens come to the Earth and are perceived as gods by us; these aliens then create the ancient civilizations of the Earth. I was always interested in the Nephilim as well and in Sumerian and Egyptian mythology... I had thought as a young person that this very idea might make a good story. But I knew a lot less about this subject back then! It is very interesting to consider the possibility that there were multiple races that created the human race in pre-history. What bones of further human species still remain to be found and analyzed? Recently, I read about the Homo Naledi being discovered. And I also read about recently the papyri scrolls of Herculaneum, which were carbonized and preserved by the ash of Mt. Vesuvius. If only they can be deciphered--perhaps they yet contain some history of the past of which we are currently unaware?
 
This inter species thing.
In my twenties there's been a few times I woke from an alcohol fuelled slumber, looked at some beautiful female vision from the night before and thought "Yikes! What is that?"
 

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