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First Love Child of Human, Neanderthal Found

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The skeletal remains of an individual living in northern Italy 40,000-30,000 years ago are believed to be that of a human/Neanderthal hybrid, according to a paper in PLoS ONE.

If further analysis proves the theory correct, the remains belonged to the first known such hybrid, providing direct evidence that humans and Neanderthals interbred. Prior genetic research determined the DNA of people with European and Asian ancestry is 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal.

The present study focuses on the individual’s jaw, which was unearthed at a rock-shelter called Riparo di Mezzena in the Monti Lessini region of Italy. Both Neanderthals and modern humans inhabited Europe at the time.

PHOTOS: Faces of Our Ancestors

“From the morphology of the lower jaw, the face of the Mezzena individual would have looked somehow intermediate between classic Neanderthals, who had a rather receding lower jaw (no chin), and the modern humans, who present a projecting lower jaw with a strongly developed chin,” co-author Silvana Condemi, an anthropologist, told Discovery News.

Condemi is the CNRS research director at the University of Ai-Marseille. She and her colleagues studied the remains via DNA analysis and 3D imaging. They then compared those results with the same features from Homo sapiens.

The genetic analysis shows that the individual’s mitochondrial DNA is Neanderthal. Since this DNA is transmitted from a mother to her child, the researchers conclude that it was a “female Neanderthal who mated with male Homo sapiens.”

NEWS: Neanderthals Lacked Social Skills

By the time modern humans arrived in the area, the Neanderthals had already established their own culture, Mousterian, which lasted some 200,000 years. Numerous flint tools, such as axes and spear points, have been associated with the Mousterian. The artifacts are typically found in rock shelters, such as the Riparo di Mezzena, and caves throughout Europe.

The researchers found that, although the hybridization between the two hominid species likely took place, the Neanderthals continued to uphold their own cultural traditions.

That's an intriguing clue, because it suggests that the two populations did not simply meet, mate and merge into a single group.

NEWS: Neanderthals Died Out Earlier Than Thought

As Condemi and her colleagues wrote, the mandible supports the theory of "a slow process of replacement of Neanderthals by the invading modern human populations, as well as additional evidence of the upholding of the Neanderthals' cultural identity.”

Prior fossil finds indicate that modern humans were living in a southern Italy cave as early as 45,000 years ago. Modern humans and Neanderthals therefore lived in roughly the same regions for thousands of years, but the new human arrivals, from the Neanderthal perspective, might not have been welcome, and for good reason. The research team hints that the modern humans may have raped female Neanderthals, bringing to mind modern cases of "ethnic cleansing."

Ian Tattersall is one of the world’s leading experts on Neanderthals and the human fossil record. He is a paleoanthropologist and a curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History.

Tattersall told Discovery News that the hypothesis, presented in the new paper, “is very intriguing and one that invites more research.”

Neanderthal culture and purebred Neanderthals all died out 35,000-30,000 years ago.



Thank's Friday!!!

by on Mar. 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM
Replies (31-40):
by Bronze Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 7:41 AM

The Neanderthals or Neandertals (English pronunciation /niˈændərˌθɔːlz/, /niˈændərˌtɔːlz/, /niˈændərˌtɑːlz/ or /neɪˈɑːndərˌtɑːlz/[1]) are an extinct species or subspecies of the genus Homo which is closely related to modern humans. They are known from fossils, dating from the Pleistocene period, which have been found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia. The species is named after Neandertal ("Neander's Valley"), the location in Germany where it was first discovered.

Neanderthals are classified either as a subspecies of Homo sapiens (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or as a separate species of the same genus (Homo neanderthalensis).[2] The first humans with proto-Neanderthal traits are believed to have existed in Europe as early as 600,000–350,000 years ago.[3]

When the Neanderthals went extinct is disputed. Fossils found in the Vindija Cave in Croatia have been dated to between 33,000 and 32,000 years old, and Neanderthal artifacts from Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar are believed to be less than 30,000 years ago, but a recent study has re-dated fossils at two Spanish sites as 45,000 years old, 10,000 years older than previously thought, and may cast doubt on recent dates at other sites. Cro-Magnon (early-modern-human) skeletal remains showing certain "Neanderthal traits" have been found in Lagar Velho (Portugal) and dated to 24,500 years ago, suggesting that there may have been an extensive admixture of the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal populations in that region.[4]

Several cultural assemblages have been linked to the Neanderthals in Europe. The earliest, the Mousterian stone tool culture, dates to about 300,000 years ago.[5] Late Mousterian artifacts were found in Gorham's Cave on the south-facing coast of Gibraltar.[6][7] Other tool cultures associated with the Neanderthals include the Châtelperronian, the Aurignacian, and the Gravettian; their tool assemblages appear to have developed gradually within their populations, rather than being introduced by new population groups arriving in the region.[8]

Neanderthal cranial capacity is thought to have been as large as that of modern humans, perhaps larger, indicating that their brain size may have been comparable, or larger, as well. In 2008, a group of scientists created a study using three-dimensional computer-assisted reconstructions of Neanderthal infants based on fossils found in Russia and Syria.

The study showed Neanderthal and modern human brains were the same size at birth, but by adulthood, the Neanderthal brain was larger than the modern human brain.[9] They were much stronger than modern humans, having particularly strong arms and hands.[10] Males stood 164–168 cm (65–66 in) and females about 152–156 cm (60–61 in) tall.[11]

Genetic evidence published in 2010 suggests that Neanderthals contributed to the DNA of anatomically modern humans, probably through interbreeding between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago with the population of anatomically modern humans who had recently migrated from Africa. According to the study, by the time that population began dispersing across Eurasia, Neanderthals genes constituted as much as 1–4% of its genome.[12][13][14]

by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 7:52 AM


You missed the part where they analyzed DNA from the individual.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

Wow all that from a few bits of "skeletal remains".  While it's interesting the bad thing is so many will take this guess work s being fact.


by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 7:55 AM


You must have skipped the part where they analyzed the mitochondrial DNA.

Also, the jawbone isn't 'bits of skeletal remains' - it's one of the bones that is markedly different between Neanderthals and more modern humans.

Quoting parentalrights1:

Like people do with the bible

Quoting 12hellokitty:

Wow all that from a few bits of "skeletal remains".  While it's interesting the bad thing is so many will take this guess work s being fact.


by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 7:57 AM


You must have missed the part about the mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Quoting turtle68:

I wonder why they dont go to ....deformed child....imbred person?   Interesting read though


by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM

 A ton of people have attempted to calculate when the earth was created, based on statements in the Bible about one person being born and his partner having a child and so on.  

The Bible never states that the earth is a given number of years old.

Quoting ACDC_fan:


well thats weird cause tons of people have told me "oh the bible said the earth is ___ years old."
fossils and cavemen and all that, is something the bible and christians do not tend to agree with. I agree with scientific research.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

 My bible doesn't give a year as to when the earth was created.  It does say it was created in the beginning and science has recently discovered the universe has a beginning.  So the earth could be 4.5 billion years old according to the bible, since it doesn't give a date.









by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:07 AM


My own feeling about it is that the more modern humans were a little more flexible and adaptable in their behavior and had an ability to make more complicated and varied sounds with their voice, so their language allowed for slightly better communication when hunting, seeking shelter, they were because of these differences just slightly more able to adapt to changing climates and to migrate into new areas.   So as the climate changed they had a slight advantage.   Over time a slight advantage adds up.  

For example, the Neanderthal's tools stuck to a familiar pattern for many many thousands of years.  During a much shorter period of time the modern human's technology changed more quickly.

And as their numbers dwindled Neanderthals had more contact with more modern humans and due to the occasional mating their genes were very diluted in the more modern human population.

Remains of flowers have been found in Neanderthal graves and they clearly had a fairly 'human' culture.  Just not quite as flexible and adaptable as more modern humans.  I don't think there would have been a gigantic difference between the two groups, but a slight difference adds up over long periods of time.

 I think the title of this thread is a little bit silly.    There's no indication that this was an isolated incident back then or that they would have conceived of mating with a Neanderthal in the same way Dianna Ross would have (reference to Dianna Ross' song 'Love Child').

Maybe it was an advantage to mate with someone from an outside group.   Otherwise small isolated groups of modern humans might have gotten rather inbred.   New genes might have had some survival value.

For all we know 'hooking up' with a Neanderthal was considered to be really cool.   Maybe they got her drunk and dragged her all over the meadow and posted drawings of her being drunk on a local flat rock, who knows.  

Quoting AdrianneHill:

I read somewhere that the difference between us and them could be our ability to lie and trick. They were much stronger and had bigger brains, maybe our ability to be sneaky little shits is what won us the day.
I read another idea that was tongue in cheek but
by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:17 AM

 Must have missed the entire DNA analysis thing.

Quoting GrannyM.:

Totally agree...cannot actually be proven ...any of it...


by Ruby Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 8:35 AM


Do you understand that the relevance of the DNA analysis is only as good as today's technology.

Not long ago in the grand scheme of things leeches were state of the art.

Quoting lancet98:

 Must have missed the entire DNA analysis thing.


Quoting GrannyM.:

Totally agree...cannot actually be proven ...any of it...




by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 9:00 AM



So you're saying DNA analysis doesn't exist, or that it doesn't work, or that leeches are better than DNA analysis?   Or are you about to thump on your Bible and say the whole Neanderthal thing is a fabrication and an elaborate conspiracy?

In fact, leeches have nothing to do with DNA analysis.   Leeches were used during the Middle Ages in Europe, in the belief that an excess or imbalance  of 'humors' (bodily fluids) caused diseases - a system of belief that originated in classical Greece and hung on for a long time.   And that entire concept of how the body works was replaced long ago by scientific research.   And the four-body-humor system of physiology is ALMOST as ridiculous as saying DNA analysis doesn't work or is a 'fad' and will soon be disproven.

And what exactly is your agenda in saying that DNA analysis doesn't work?   You got a family member in jail because of it or what?

In fact, DNA analysis works very well.   While it's unlikely to be replaced it is likely that new applications will be found for DNA analysis.  

But I'd caution people to read the original research paper rather than some stupid article, blog or bulletin board post written by someone who knows nothing about DNA analysis, especially if it has a title like 'Neanderthal Love Child Found'.

The original research paper will have a sensible discussion of what the DNA results mean, without the 'first love child' implications.     

I don't actually get what the hubbub is about.   Of course diferent groups of humans are going to intermix despite differences in appearance or culture.  There are distinct survival advantages to doing so - if we had not, we probably would not have survived as a species.   There appears to be a point in time when there were very, very few humans around - that kind of extreme inter-relatedness could have ended the whole thing if humans were not curious about newly encountered groups.

We also don't know what early modern humans would have found attractive.   For all we know, they thought Neanderthals were some sort of shaman or deities.   They may have been rare and fascinating to early modern humans.

Quoting Billiejeens:


Do you understand that the relevance of the DNA analysis is only as good as today's technology.

Not long ago in the grand scheme of things leeches were state of the art.

Quoting lancet98:

 Must have missed the entire DNA analysis thing.


Quoting GrannyM.:

Totally agree...cannot actually be proven ...any of it...






by Gold Member on Mar. 29, 2013 at 9:15 AM

One of the disadvantages of the article posted is that it doesn't mention that while there is solid backing for the idea of humans mating with not just Neanderthals but also Denisovans, that doesn't mean that every legit researcher agrees with how every single fossil has been interpreted.   For example there are a few fossils from Spain that not all those who are skilled enough to examine the fossils, really agree on every point.

Another thing I'd mention- I can't recall the guy's name - Gooch, Goonch, something like that?   Stan Gooch?   He has written some VERY popular(meaning non Academic) books suggesting all sorts of things about Neanderthals, but legit researchers of the subject think most of what he's written is nonsense.   So not everything you find in the media on the subject is going to get unanimous praise from those who are best qualified to evaluate.

For example it's fairly clear that since there were no Neanderthals in much of Africa, that most Africans have a smaller percentage of Neanderthal DNA than European and Asians.

Not that it really makes a real difference today.   The DNA from Neanderthals is such a small percentage of ANY ONE's DNA today, hat it  has no role in making 'white people more aggressive', as one poster commented here.   That kind of conjecture is ridiculous.   Nor is there any specifically racially determined difference in aggression between the modern races.   One group being aggressive to another is the product of prejudice, economics, politics and conquest, rather than Neanderthal DNA.  

In fact, early modern humans seem to have had very little trouble in mating with other groups.   It isn't just Neanderthals they mated with but also Denisovans.   Humans are, basically, bums and mutts.   They wander around the world, they sleep with anyone they can find(though some researchers suggest Neanderthal to more modern matings either rarely succeed or just did not occur that often).   Geographic isolation is the exception rather than the norm, even in very ancient times.   Over long periods of time, people have covered huge distances just by moving a quarter of a mile down the road every couple years.

There's a new Neanderthal genome project that I think started in about 2 years ago.   They've come out with some solid analysis and they also explain some of the complexities of the data and alternate conclusions in their publications.  Worth checking out.

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