Modern humans bred with 5 archaic human species?

Stephen Palmer

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Stephen Palmer

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(Or it might be the other way around).

What was the estimated percentage of Neanderthal DNA in Europeans? 4-5%?
Neanderthal DNA doesn't occur on the Y chromosome, so a Neanderthal man and an AMH woman would not be able to produce children; an AMH man and a Neanderthal woman could however. The current thinking on proportion of Neanderthal DNA on non-African populations is around 1-2%.
 

Foxbat

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It’s interesting. Just what is a ‘modern human’? If we have traces of DNA from these other ‘species’ aren’t we just a ‘melding’ of them all rather than a species in our own right?

It’s a bit like of talk of ‘us’ and ‘them’ with reference to the Norman Conquest. Isn’t ‘us’ now a mixture of both? The Normans didn’t pack up their bags and leave. They’re still here through inter-breeding.
We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns :)
 

Parson

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I think one of the biggest things that could happen from this is that it might be the beginning of the end for racism. We are all ONE race. There are cultural differences, and those are significant, but there is no us and them. It's especially frustrating here in the States. Almost every "African-American" is between 10-15% Anglo, and obviously some are a great deal more than that. But that's not the biggest thing at all. We all came out of Africa. When will our world learn the truth that been known for at least 2 Millennium? "there is no slave or free, there is no Jew or Greek, there is no male or female but we are all one..."
 

mosaix

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I think one of the biggest things that could happen from this is that it might be the beginning of the end for racism. We are all ONE race. There are cultural differences, and those are significant, but there is no us and them. It's especially frustrating here in the States. Almost every "African-American" is between 10-15% Anglo, and obviously some are a great deal more than that. But that's not the biggest thing at all. We all came out of Africa. When will our world learn the truth that been known for at least 2 Millennium? "there is no slave or free, there is no Jew or Greek, there is no male or female but we are all one..."

My personal, jaundiced, view @Parson is that racism will never end because it just isn’t logical.

The football team I support, Manchester City, has several Spanish players. Some of the are crowd favourites. When we play a Spanish club in the European competitions I can racist hear abuse of Spaniards from City fans all around me, even though the ‘Spanish’ team is largely composed of French, German, Dutch players etc.

I chat to them about it sometimes.

“Not our Spanish lads, those Spanish bastards!” Is the general response.

There’s no logic to it.
 

Stephen Palmer

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Mosaix makes a very good point, which we should remember whenever we ask ourselves why most people in public life do the irrational things they do. People who want power, or who want influence, or who want control or domination, all imagine a gap between themselves and others. Sometimes that gap is manifested as misogyny, sometimes as racism, sometimes as discrimination. That this gap doesn't in fact exist is indeed illogical, irrational - but people like that aren't logical or rational. In fact, nobody is, as shown by that brilliant book Thinking, Fast & Slow; but of course the amount varies enormously, depending on maturity and wisdom. I would expect reasonable behaviour for instance from people like David Attenborough, Susie Orbach, or, thinking of people no longer with us, Dorothy Rowe, Albert Einstein etc. I would not expect reasonable behaviour from somebody whose goal was to pervert reality into a semblance of their own fantasy world: politicians, greedy corporate bosses, people whose main goal is fame for fame's sake, and so on. The wisdom of the world lies within semi-invisible people: thinkers, perceivers, understanders. My own view is that, with luck, and after 10,000 years or so, the illogicality of racism etc will recede as humanity grows up. We are still an incredibly immature species. Our main hope is that understanding, including understanding of ourselves, is a one-way process.
 

Parson

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My personal, jaundiced, view @Parson is that racism will never end because it just isn’t logical.

(I'm assuming you mean that racism will never end just because it isn't logical.) I agree, with my rendition and also with the original wording to a lesser degree, that racism and true logic are not compatible. I would put the blame down or a common "sin" tribalism. If I look at this in a positive way, I might say that when there are numbers of people who fight against the local tribalism, like you are doing @mosaix, it gives me hope that, like @Stephen Palmer says, humanity might eventually grow up. One of humanity's great gifts is the ability to see things from the perspective of others. The more we can identify with and feel for others, the more mature we become. My hope is that as our genetic heritage is more understood the less people who see the "other" as dangerous and more like "someone a lot like me." ---Sigh! But the counter argument is that this insight, that we are all one, goes back at least as far as most creation stories and we have not made a lot of progress in the intervening 1000's of years.
 

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(I'm assuming you mean that racism will never end just because it isn't logical.) I agree, with my rendition and also with the original wording to a lesser degree, that racism and true logic are not compatible. I would put the blame down or a common "sin" tribalism. If I look at this in a positive way, I might say that when there are numbers of people who fight against the local tribalism, like you are doing @mosaix, it gives me hope that, like @Stephen Palmer says, humanity might eventually grow up. One of humanity's great gifts is the ability to see things from the perspective of others. The more we can identify with and feel for others, the more mature we become. My hope is that as our genetic heritage is more understood the less people who see the "other" as dangerous and more like "someone a lot like me." ---Sigh! But the counter argument is that this insight, that we are all one, goes back at least as far as most creation stories and we have not made a lot of progress in the intervening 1000's of years.
I suspect that a large amount of common racism (as opposed to institutional racism) is down to a kind of scapegoat effect (actually institutional racism is perhaps even more based on scapegoating). It sadly seems to be a common facet of human nature to want to have someone to blame for our own woes, someone to look down on, making us feel superior and, therefore I guess, more important, more significant. I think this is why it so often is the same in both directions they feel superior to us, we feel superior to them. About the only way I can ever truly see racism disappearing is if we ever stop being competitive, which, sadly, I suspect will be never.

Please note that my use of us and them here is purely for separation; I could as well have said group A and group B rather than personalising it and hope no one thinks by 'us' I'm implying that all us chronners think that way!!!!
 

Brian G Turner

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I think the topic would be more properly about species-ism - and obviously early hominids didn't seem to be too affected by that, especially in the right mood. :)

What would perhaps be more interesting is whether close relationships and family groups actually developed around these interbreedings.
 

M. Robert Gibson

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It’s a bit like of talk of ‘us’ and ‘them’ with reference to the Norman Conquest. Isn’t ‘us’ now a mixture of both? The Normans didn’t pack up their bags and leave. They’re still here through inter-breeding.
It's the same with the Vikings, and the Angles, and the Saxons, and the Jutes, and the Romans. They're all still here somewhere, hiding in our genes.
 

Ray Zdybrow

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UOur physical appearances make us look a lot more different than we are. Apparently there are far more "internal" features that operate the body compared to the physical appearance features. Take random people and sample the genes and more likely the people who look the least alike will have more in common with each other than those who look the most alike. Take a couple a hundred people and sample them for Neanderthal genes and around 2 percent of the genes will be Neanderthal in each person. However when you compile a list of all those Neanderthal genes it will have a very large assortment of different Neanderthal genes. It turns out each person has a different 2 percent sampling. I have no idea if the Denisovian genes we carry have the same scrambled assortment. The human ancestry tree covers a lot of branches that eventually disappeared. It does literally look like a tree and as the last one standing we are the trunk. Because of the similarity of all those hominoids just about all those branches could produce offspring when they crossed paths. There were branches going for long periods of time picking up whatever they could from the shorter branches that disappeared. Being the last one standing might be a dubious distinction as that means there is no other "human" group to carry on after us.
So, it's NOT just like a "Caucasian" mating with an "Asian".
I would like to say though, I really fancy some Denisovans... it's the giant head
 

Aquilonian

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I'm always fascinated by these reconstructions of ancient people from their bones, which are really just artistic guesswork and very enormously depending on assumptions. For instance reconstructions of Neanderthals vary from brutish and ape-like to really very attractive (well in my opinion anyway!) And this depends entirely on the preconceptions of the recontructor, which tells us more about him or her than about the person whom they're reconstructing.

The trouble with genetics is that we still know so little, and there's still so much very abstruse scientific debate and very little consensus that the public (including journalists) can understand, but the very little of it that people think they understand impacts upon massively emotive topics i.e. national identity and race.

The fact is we have no idea what homo sapiens and Neanderthals would have thought of one another, when one clan came upon another in the immense wilderness of Palaeolithic Europe. The bottom line is would they have found each other sexually attractive- to the same extent as their own kind, or to a limited extent, or not at all? Because their fertility or lack of it is of no consequence if they didn't have sex. We know from genetic studies that they did interbreed but we don't know in what circumstances.
 

Robert Zwilling

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Meanwhile, the actual genetic composition of people now and then seems to have taken a big step somewhere though some of the conclusions are based on statistical analysis and extrapolation. The bottom line is that our mixture of genes is relatively new, but the bulk of the genes, 93 percent, belongs to previous human populations no longer present. The basic design, bones, fat, nerves, muscle, organs is pretty the same as it always was, though perhaps a lot less sturdier, it just looks updated because the outer surfaces got a cosmetic remake.
Only 7 percent of modern humans genes are new
 

Bick

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I think one of the biggest things that could happen from this is that it might be the beginning of the end for racism. We are all ONE race. There are cultural differences, and those are significant, but there is no us and them. It's especially frustrating here in the States. Almost every "African-American" is between 10-15% Anglo, and obviously some are a great deal more than that. But that's not the biggest thing at all. We all came out of Africa. When will our world learn the truth that been known for at least 2 Millennium? "there is no slave or free, there is no Jew or Greek, there is no male or female but we are all one..."
This is the exact point made, rather well, in Nat Schachner’s classic short story Ancestral Voices (Astounding, Dec 1933).
 

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