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TechnologyNeanderthals split from modern humans much earlier than thought, study suggests

12:00  16 may  2019
12:00  16 may  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Nearly 240,000-year-old ancient teeth could reveal previously unknown human ancestor from Southern China

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Neanderthals split from modern humans much earlier than thought , study suggests . A new study suggests that modern humans and our closest relatives the Neanderthals may have split at least 800,000 years ago, hundreds of thousands of years earlier than had been thought .

Using computer modeling, she found that early Sapiens and Neanderthals would have had to have diverged 800,000 years ago for the Sima teeth to "The major implication is Homo heidelbergensis cannot be the last common ancestor between modern humans and Neanderthals ," she told AFP.

Neanderthals split from modern humans much earlier than thought, study suggests© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. A museum in Quinson, France, shows a reconstruction of the environment of a Neanderthal man in the mid-Paleolithic period (80,000 BC). New research finds Neanderthal and early human interbreeding likely had both positive and negative effects on the human genome.

Our distant cousins just got a little more distant.

A new study suggests that modern humans and our closest relatives, the Neanderthals, may have split 800,000 years ago, hundreds of thousands of years earlier than had been thought.

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Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, significantly earlier than currently thought , according to new study based on analyzing how the teeth of ancient fossils evolved instead "Any divergence time between Neanderthals and modern humans younger than 800,000

Modern human DNA in Neanderthals is likely a consequence of earlier contact between the two In contrast, the two Neanderthals from European caves that were sequenced for this study —one from More information: "Ancient gene flow from modern humans into Siberian Neanderthals " appears

How do scientists know this? The truth is in the teeth: Anthropologist Aida Gomez-Robles of University College London analyzed 400,000-year-old teeth from a Neanderthal ancestor, which had been discovered in a cave in Spain.

She determined that the choppers weren't at all similar to modern humans' teeth, which they should have been if the two species had been together at that time. The "teeth are very different from those that we would expect to find in their last common ancestral species with modern humans," Gomez-Robles said, "suggesting that they evolved separately over a long period of time (before that) to develop such stark differences."

The most recent common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans must have lived well before this time, probably hundreds of thousands of years earlier, according to New Scientist.

Denisovan Jawbone Discovered in a Cave in Tibet

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Using computer modeling, she found that early Sapiens and Neanderthals would have had to have diverged 800,000 years ago for the Sima teeth to "The major implication is Homo heidelbergensis cannot be the last common ancestor between modern humans and Neanderthals ," she told AFP.

Modern humans and Neanderthals —our closest prehistoric relative—once shared a common Now, a researcher from University College London (UCL) has suggested that humans and Neanderthals "The study focuses on the dental shape of eight different species, including an early Neanderthal

The study concludes that any divergence between Neanderthals and modern humans after 800,000 years ago would require "unusually and unlikely rapid dental evolution" in the teeth discovered in Spain.

The findings differ from studies of ancient DNA and cranial features, which point to a 400,000-year divergence date.

Neanderthals were a species of ancient humans that went extinct about 40,000 years ago. Modern humans share a common ancestor with Neanderthals, the extinct species that were our closest prehistoric relatives.

How close? Neanderthals and modern humans share more than 99% of their DNA.

The details on when and how two species diverged remain a matter of intense debate within the anthropological community.

Smithsonian Institution paleoanthropologist Rick Potts is far from convinced that rates of dental evolution are as standard or predictable as the new study suggests.

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Neanderthals and modern humans diverged at least 800,000 years ago, significantly earlier than currently thought , according to new “Any divergence time between Neanderthals and modern humans younger than 800,000 years ago would have entailed an unexpectedly fast dental evolution

There is evidence for interbreeding between archaic and modern humans during the Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic. The interbreeding happened in several independent events that included

“She’s bitten off an interesting topic here, but I just don’t see the argument that dental rates of evolution are absolutely known to the point where we can then say that for certain the Neanderthal-modern human divergence must have been earlier than 800,000 years ago,” Potts told Smithsonian magazine.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Neanderthals split from modern humans much earlier than thought, study suggests

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