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The Neanderthal genes are in our hair and skin. This is the result of a current study.
Sleep and smoke like a Neanderthal
The Neanderthal genes still influence the color of our skin and hair, as well as a wide variety of aspects such as mood, the tendency to smoke and the waking and sleeping rhythm, according to the scientists.
Adaptation to Eurasia
The reason for these tendencies could be the adaptation of the Neanderthals to the solar radiation of Eurasia. In comparison to Homo Sapiens, the Neanderthal man, which is equipped with strong bones, is considered to be a form of man set for a cold climate.
The genes were carried on in modern humans
Janet Kelso from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Research in Germany says: “We speculate that the identification of the Neanderthal genes in our study indicates that exposure to the sun formed this part of DNA, and that these genes were carried on in modern humans and continue to shape these aspects to this day. ”
Two percent Neanderthals
An estimated 2% of our DNA in non-Africans comes from Neanderthals who gave birth to children with our ancestors.
Study on 112,000 people
Scientists examined the genetic information of 112,000 people in the British biobank pilot study and found evidence that Neanderthal DNA affected the appearance of human skin and hair.
Connection 100,000 years ago
Kelso says modern people from Africa met Neanderthals about 100,000 years ago in Eurasia.
Neanderthals were there before
Exposure to sunlight in the region where the two types of people met probably influenced evolution, as the Neanderthals developed specific physical adaptations to the sun's UV rays, she explains.
Research is at the beginning
Kelso's team plans to systematically research the influence of the Neanderthals on modern humans.
Much earlier mixing
The Max Planck Institute had already demonstrated in 2016 that Neanderthals and modern humans mixed genetically 100,000 years ago. Scientist Sergi Castellano said: “Since deciphering the Neanderthal genome, we know that the genome of non-Africans living today contains Neanderthal DNA and that Neanderthals and modern humans have mixed together. (…) Now we have found human genetic material in the Neanderthal genome, possibly as a result of a much earlier mixing. ”
How did the researchers work?
Martin Kuhlwilm from the institute explains the method: “Because non-Africans living today have traces of Neanderthals in the genome, their data were not suitable for our study. Instead, we used the genomes of people living in Africa today to identify mutations that most of them have in common. Some of these mutations occur frequently in the Neanderthal genome from the Altai Mountains in the same regions, which indicates that they are mixed. ”
Neanderthal genes in the immune system
As early as 2016, researchers said: Neanderthal genes strengthen our immune system.
Mixing 40,000 years ago
As early as 2015, scientists examined a 37,000 to 42,000 year old lower jaw of a modern person from Romania and found up to nine percent Neanderthal DNA in it. They concluded that he had a Neanderthal ancestor in his family tree four to six generations earlier.
Not a primitive person
The Neanderthal has long been considered a primitive preform of man. Today we know that he was physically different from modern humans, but was not "stupid". He developed culture as well as medicine and religion.
(Dr. Utz Anhalt)