It has been discovered that modern-day humans have a link to Neanderthals through DNA. The Neanderthal genes that a human possesses are part of what makes up the hair and skin. They are also connected to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and immune problems. The ability to deal with freezing temperatures can be attributed to Neanderthal DNA.
The Homo Neanderthalensis, or Neanderthal man, walked the earth about 200,000 years ago. They are known to have resided in Europe. The Neanderthals vanished around 28,000 to 30,000 years ago. Their genes, however, survived and are apparent in the DNA of modern-day humans.
Humans resided in Africa and then ventured out to Neanderthal territory about 100,000 years ago. The two groups combined and reproduced. There are some genes that made it through after all these years and they have been discovered. They consist of about two to four percent of the make-up of a human’s DNA.
An author of one of the studies on this subject is Joshua Akey. He is an associate professor of genome science. His work has acknowledged the Neanderthal to human DNA link through hair and skin traits. At Harvard Medical School scientists discovered in a separate study a total of nine instances of Neanderthal DNA being linked to modern-day humans. Both of these studies have an impact on learning about humans and their genetic building blocks.
This discovery has allowed scientists to delve further into the evolution of humans. It also provides an insight to developing various medical tests and forms of treatment. The studies showed that some genes did not survive over the years. The DNA link from Neanderthals to modern humans can hold answers to the past as well as to the future.
Tests done on a female Neanderthal bone revealed that inbreeding was commonplace for them. Some scientists feel that this is what may have brought about their extinction. Others say it is due the fact that the Neanderthals were not as agile as humans. It is believed that Neanderthals did mate with humans as well as their own breed. The humans went on to evolve but kept only the necessary genes needed for survival. The Neanderthals disappeared instead of evolving.
One of the genes played an important role in keeping humans warm in their new frigid climate. Since the Neanderthals had already evolved to become acclimated to the cold, this trait was passed on to the humans. The humans retained this gene and it help them adapt to the cooler climate.
There is a theory that the Neanderthals only knew the cold and could not adapt when the climate started to change and their environment started to change. It was more than they could handle. The humans succeeded because they had the ability to evolve.
The idea that Neanderthals have a link to humans through DNA appears to have been proven true. This opens up a wide range of opportunity for study, experiments and possibly some solutions to medical questions that have yet to be answered. The reason the Neanderthal man did not evolve may help humans to understand their own concerns about future evolution. The Neanderthal man is extinct. The human race adapted with the help of Neanderthal DNA and of course, a will to survive.
By Saki Kahala