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  • 17

    Neanderthal-Human Hybrid 'a Myth'
    History; Posted on: 2007-12-10 13:23:57 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Did modern humans interbreed with Neanderthals and, if so, did the mating result in a half-human, half-Neanderthal hybrid?

    Jennifer Viegas
    Discovery News

    The answer is possibly 'yes' to the interbreeding but 'no' to the hybrid, according to the authors of a new study that is already making waves among anthropologists.

    At the centre of the study, published online in the Journal of Human Evolution, and the current debate, is a 29,000 year old Romanian skull that is one of the oldest fossils in Europe with modern human features.

    But those features aren't quite a perfect match with us, which has led some experts to suspect it was a cross between a Neanderthal and a modern human.

    That's not so, according to study leader Dr Katerina Harvati, a senior researcher in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and adjunct associate professor of anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate School.

    "It differs from living people only in subtle ways, and always well within the range of modern human variation," says Harvati, who worked with the Max Planck Institute researcher Dr Philipp Gunz and Professor Dan Grigorescu, from the University of Bucharest.

    "It has, for instance, slightly heavier eyebrows than the average person, and is generally somewhat more robust than average," she adds, explaining that modern humans have gradually evolved to become more slight and slender than upper Palaeolithic people were.


    Our Ancestors' Kitchen
    News Source: Discovery News

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