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Author Topic:   Fate of the Neanderthals
Taq
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Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009


Message 1 of 19 (503489)
03-19-2009 2:07 PM


I recently watched Neanderthal Code on the National Geographic Channel. Towards the end of the show they proposed that the neanderthals did not go extinct. Instead, neanderthals interbred with modern humans and were assimilated into the modern human population.

I just don't see how this could be given the genetic evidence that has thus far come to light. First, it appears that no human living today (or very, very few) carry mitochondrial DNA from neanderthals. The same can be said for the Y-chromosome. You would think that if interbreeding was common that either the maternal or paternal lineages would be seen in modern populations, especially in European populations where interbreeding would have been the most common.

Admittedly, these conclusions are being drawn from incomplete information. Just last month scientists announced that the neanderthal genome has been completely sequenced. They are hoping to release the results of the neanderthal-human comparison later this year.

Link

What I am wondering is this. Given the lack of neanderthal mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome lineages in modern populations, should we expect to see other neanderthal genes in modern populations? What do you guys predict will be found in the neanderthal genome?


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AdminNosy
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From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Message 2 of 19 (503504)
03-19-2009 3:57 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Stagamancer
Member (Idle past 4155 days)
Posts: 174
From: Oregon
Joined: 12-28-2008


Message 3 of 19 (503508)
03-19-2009 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Taq
03-19-2009 2:07 PM


What I am wondering is this. Given the lack of neanderthal mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome lineages in modern populations, should we expect to see other neanderthal genes in modern populations? What do you guys predict will be found in the neanderthal genome?/

Well, I would expect to find a lot of similarity between the genomes H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis, since I would expect us to be even more related to them than chimpanzees/bonobos. However, this raises the question of how you determine which genes are shared because of a common ancestor, and which genes are shared because of interbreeding?


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

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ramoss
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Posts: 3225
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 4 of 19 (503527)
03-19-2009 8:38 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Stagamancer
03-19-2009 5:30 PM


There is at least one gene that deals with brain development that appears to be from neanderthal.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Human-Brain-Carries-at-Least-One-Neanderthal-Gene-39515.shtml


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Taq
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Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009


Message 5 of 19 (503539)
03-19-2009 10:30 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Stagamancer
03-19-2009 5:30 PM


However, this raises the question of how you determine which genes are shared because of a common ancestor, and which genes are shared because of interbreeding?

I don't think that would be difficult. If the lineages split between 500,000 and 700,000 years ago then you would expect to see a certain amount of synonymous mutations (mutations that do not change the amino acid sequence of the protein being coded for). You would also expect a certain amount of divergence between introns. If there is a lack of synonymous mutations and differences in introns then I think this could point to interbreeding.


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Taq
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Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009


Message 6 of 19 (503540)
03-19-2009 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ramoss
03-19-2009 8:38 PM


There is at least one gene that deals with brain development that appears to be from neanderthal.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Human-Brain-Carries-at-Least-One-Neanderthal-Gene-39515.shtml

That is one of the important genes that they talked about in the article I linked to in the OP. Another interesting candidate is FOXP2.


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pandion
Member (Idle past 2239 days)
Posts: 166
From: Houston
Joined: 04-06-2009


Message 7 of 19 (505511)
04-13-2009 1:27 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by ramoss
03-19-2009 8:38 PM


ramoss writes:

There is at least one gene that deals with brain development that appears to be from neanderthal.


I don't know. Couldn't it be as plausible to conclude that the gene came from common ancestry?

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Artemis Entreri 
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From: Northern Virginia
Joined: 07-08-2008


Message 8 of 19 (506860)
04-29-2009 8:42 PM


They probably had to take a guess, to conclude the show. Though the National Geographic Society is not even a scientific group.

All in all they are entertaining. Neadertals is an interesting subject to me. I would guess that they were part of the Ice Age Mega Fauna (well they had some big hominid features sorta) that could not adapt fast enough to the warming climate after the last Ice Age. They probably were in decline from the climate, and were out competeted by the more adaptable Homo sapiens sapiens. Had the world remained cool I think they would have survied in isolated populations, in areas where thier prey survived.


  
ramoss
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Posts: 3225
Joined: 08-11-2004


Message 9 of 19 (507106)
05-01-2009 2:43 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by pandion
04-13-2009 1:27 AM


There is substantial evidence it is an interpolition.. because of the degree it is different from other variations of that specific gene.

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Taq
Member
Posts: 8519
Joined: 03-06-2009


Message 10 of 19 (507108)
05-01-2009 2:49 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by ramoss
05-01-2009 2:43 PM


There is substantial evidence it is an interpolition.. because of the degree it is different from other variations of that specific gene.

I agree. The evidence is strongly in favor of a horizontal transfer from neanderthals to modern humans. It could still be the product of common ancestry, but those chances are pretty slim.


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Stagamancer
Member (Idle past 4155 days)
Posts: 174
From: Oregon
Joined: 12-28-2008


Message 11 of 19 (509134)
05-18-2009 11:24 PM


Sorry, this is a bit off topic, but I couldn't resist putting it in the "Fate of Neanderthals" thread. New evidence has arisen that suggests that in some cases Homo sapiens maybe have killed and eaten Neanderthals.
quote:
The controversial suggestion follows publication of a study in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences about a Neanderthal jawbone apparently butchered by modern humans. Now the leader of the research team says he believes the flesh had been eaten by humans, while its teeth may have been used to make a necklace.

Fernando Rozzi, of Paris's Centre National de la R├ęcherche Scientifique, said the jawbone had probably been cut into to remove flesh, including the tongue. Crucially, the butchery was similar to that used by humans to cut up deer carcass in the early Stone Age.


The evidence is by no means unequivocal or overwhelming. But it's an interesting thought.


We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions?
-Dan Ariely

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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1344 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 12 of 19 (509178)
05-19-2009 4:46 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Stagamancer
05-18-2009 11:24 PM


I saw that too. Surely eating Neanderthals is not cannibalism?

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Stagamancer
Member (Idle past 4155 days)
Posts: 174
From: Oregon
Joined: 12-28-2008


Message 13 of 19 (509245)
05-19-2009 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Dr Jack
05-19-2009 4:46 AM


Well, I suppose it's all in how you define cannibalism. Is it only eating members of your own species, or could it include eating members of your genus? I think it's also important to consider the implications of eating another sentient being. From a public health perspective, though, I guess the most important thing is how would prions and viruses have passed between neanderthals and humans.


We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions?
-Dan Ariely

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1.61803
Member (Idle past 743 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 14 of 19 (509251)
05-19-2009 6:15 PM


Neaderthal would more than likely kick cromag's ass and eat him.
I for one in a death match would have money on Mr. brow ridges.

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Perdition
Member (Idle past 2477 days)
Posts: 1593
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 15 of 19 (509252)
05-19-2009 6:21 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Stagamancer
05-19-2009 5:22 PM


I'd have to say, eating others in your genus would only be "genuside" :)

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