Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

DNA Pinpoints When Humans and Neanderthals Interbred

 / Updated  / Source: Reuters
Image: Kostenki skull fossil
The fossilized skull of "Kostenki man" dates back to around 36,000 years ago.Peter the Great Museum

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

DNA extracted from the skeleton of a man who lived in Russia about 37,000 years ago is giving scientists new insights into the genetic history of Europeans, including interbreeding that took place with Neanderthals around 54,000 years ago.

Scientists said on Thursday that they used DNA taken from the man's left tibia to sequence the genome of one of the earliest known Europeans. Genetic analysis of the Kostenki man, named after the western Russian village where his skeleton was first unearthed 60 years ago, enabled a more precise estimate of when Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals who had colonized the region thousands of years earlier. It provided evidence of contact earlier than previously known between European hunter-gatherers and people from the Middle East whose descendants developed agriculture. And it showed that by the time the Kostenki man was born, somewhere around 36,200 to 38,700 years ago, the people residing in western Eurasia had already split from the lineage that populated East Asia. The research was published in the journal Science.

Image: Kostenki skull fossil
The fossilized skull of "Kostenki man" dates back to around 36,000 years ago.Peter the Great Museum

IN-DEPTH

SOCIAL

— Reuters

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news