DO HUNKY BROWS TURN YOU ON? Me too.
So. You know Neanderthals? Neanderthals were our evolutionary cousins, a species of Homo (Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis depending on whom you ask), who inhabited Europe at the same time as modern humans, and who had very hunky brows. They looked like this:
Well guess what. Your grandma had sex with them.
Not your immediate grandma. I mean like your great-great-great-great-great-great . . . really great-grandma.
Make you erectus?
Good, because she got down and dirty with Homo erectus too. And also Denisova hominim.
Your great-great-great grandma was kind of a hoebag.
At least, that’s what some scientists suspect.
In 2010, the Neanderthal Genome Project, a collaboration of scientists to sequence the Neanderthal genome, presented evidence of interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans, concluding that the DNA of non-African people is 1-4% Neanderthal. Interestingly, humans and Neanderthals do not share mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on matrilineally. So it seems that only male Neanderthals and female humans were able to mate. Genetic evidence also suggests that 4-5% of Melanesian and Australian aboriginal DNA is from Denisova hominin, a species that once inhabited Asia. (OK, so your grandma was not necessarily implicated in that one.) It gets raunchier. Michael Hammer, from the University of Arizona, argues based on computer simulations that modern humans also had sex with Homo erectus. And Homo habilis (I forgot that one before). Hammer’s conclusions paraphrased: “Your grandmother had sex with all kinds of animals basically all the time. We don’t know how she even had time to do anything else.”
Who knew that back in the day, inter-special sex was even a thing?
A more recent report, however, by scientists who want to spoil the fun, casts doubt on the idea of human-Neanderthal interbreeding. These party-poopers, from some remote university called “Cambridge”, argue that the overlap of DNA is a remnant of a common ancestor. They argue that the more hip, exciting scientists over at the Neantherdal Genome Project did not take into account the genetic variation already present within populations of our modern human ancestors. There were, according to them, therefore no scenes in ancient history like the one pictured here.
So maybe your grandma was a very nice lady.
Why did I include this article as part of my blog?
I just wanted to say erectus.