[Taxacom] Homo sapiens neanderthalensis

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Fri May 17 12:37:11 CDT 2013

Dear All,


     I have long advocated recognizing Neanderthals as an extinct subspecies (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), not as a separate species.  It has been a long time in coming, but there is increasing evidence of considerable interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals, so much so that most humans today carry 2-4% Neanderthal genes.  Denisovan genes apparently account for about 6-8% of present-day humans.   The percentages would probable be higher if Neanderthal populations had been higher.   


     Actual fossil individuals that appear to be crosses between Neanderthals and modern humans have been found.  One was from a Neanderthal female and a modern male, although there are no known living descendants in that case (only from Neanderthal males and modern females), since mitochondrial Neanderthal genes do not appear in living populations.   I suspect that that there were a lot of Neanderthal males kidnapping modern females and having children with them (or was it more often consentual?).     


     So for those who still prefer to recognize Neanderthals as a separate species, what are your arguments for continuing to do so?    Anyway, here is one article which came out just today:   


Pennisi, Elizabeth (2013), "More Genomes from Denisova Cave Show Mixing of Early Human Groups", Science 340: 799, doi:10.1126/science.340.6134.799




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