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Want To Connect With Your Inner Neanderthal?

Want To Connect With Your Inner Neanderthal?

Are you yearning to connect with your Neanderthal roots? Now you can!

Genome analysts at 23andMe have devised a new way to reveal the secrets inside your DNA. Their latest test will reveal how many of your genes come from Neanderthals. And they warn that some people have a lot of Neanderthal in them!

Early Humans Had Sex With Neanderthals

From io9.com:

It’s now confirmed that early humans and Neanderthals interbred, and this practice was widespread enough that all non-African people alive today carry some fraction of Neanderthal genes. With the help of Eric Durand, who worked on both the first draft of the Neanderthal genome and the genome for the newly discovered Denisovan people, 23andMe is now offering a test to determine just how your DNA stacks up with the Neanderthal genome.

On average, people have about 2.5% Neanderthal DNA, but there are some people who carry significantly more Neanderthal genes than that. And exactly what does that mean? Right now, we don’t know. Certainly, there’s no indication that a higher concentration of such genes gives people a Neanderthal look – if anything, the influx of Neanderthal genes probably gave early humans increased fitness and resistance to disease, which helped them spread across the planet. Of course, whether there are similar advantages to having lots of Neanderthal genes today remains unknown.

Who Were Neanderthals?

Neanderthals, like modern humans, belong to the group of primates that scientists classify as the genus Homo. They lived in Europe, the Middle East and parts of western Asia from about 500,000 years ago to as recently as 30,000 years ago. Anatomically, Neanderthals were shorter than modern humans, with thicker bones, more steeply-sloped foreheads and heavier brow ridges.

They had bigger brains and muscles, but for some reason Neanderthals died out about 30,000 years ago, while we modern humans survived. Exactly why we, Homo sapiens, flourished and our Homo neandertalensis cousins died out, is an evolutionary mystery that biologists are trying to unravel. What experts do know is that although Neanderthals disappeared long ago, their DNA lives on in all non-African people.

Not The Dimwitted Caveman Of Popular Culture

And that image from popular culture, of the Neanderthal as a primitive and dimwitted caveman, is probably inaccurate. Scientists believe they may actually have been the most advanced group of primates besides modern humans, and despite their stocky bodies and thick skulls, may have possessed intelligence almost on par with ours.

So don’t be afraid to take that test and find out how much of you is Neanderthal!

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Photo Credit: MareCrisium

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82 comments

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9:17AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

im sure they were pretty darn smart, and it's cool that they can test for the DNA left in us :)

4:46PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

World’s Oldest Cave Paintings May Be Work of Neanderthal Artists

7:08PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

I thought we already had a method for testing for high Neanderthal levels (The ballot box).

6:54PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

It would be weird if we didn't mate with each other, really.
They were probably a lot less bizarrely ethnocentric than we are today.

At this point in our history we are so unbelievably judgemental!
(Probably then too!)
We think we are just God's gift to the Universe!
Geez, how ridiculous and immature is that?
What know-it-all little punks we are!
The Universe is pretty damned huge.
And we are still acting like spoiled school children...
...having wars and grabbing all the stuff for ME!

We still haven't even learned how to SHARE as a species!
That's pretty basic stuff, folks....

That's probably how the Neanderthal became extinct...
...they tried to share with us and we killed them off and took it all.

Seems to be a pattern, doesn't it?

1:06PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

Please add a link to the test!

4:29PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

We all have analogues of genes between species. What is really bogus about their results is the meaninglessness of the percentages when they claim you are 2.5% related to another species and yet are less than one tenth of a percent related to other humans. Regarding genetic testing for diseases:"Most Random Gene Expression Signatures Are Significantly Associated with Breast Cancer Outcome - In conclusion, we have shown that 1) random single- and multiple-genes expression markers have a high probability to be associated with breast cancer outcome; 2) most published signatures are not significantly more associated with outcome than random predictors; 3) the meta-PCNA metagene integrates most of the outcome-related information contained in the breast cancer transcriptome; 4) this information is present in over 50% of the transcriptome and cannot be removed by purging known cell-cycle genes from a signature."
http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002240

1:26PM PST on Jan 10, 2012

The article speaks about a test but I can see it anywhere.

11:37PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Ardith, it's talking about the genome test to see how much Neanderthal DNA you have. The link is at the very beginning of the article: click on Genome analysts at 23andMe.

8:21PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

Where's the test? The article talks about a test and the question is about the test but I can't find the test. Did my brain die?

11:27PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Don't forget the subcategory, that we, as "modern" humans, are homosapien-sapien. The cavemen were homosapien-neanderthal.

Colleen, Neanderthals could use a highly set amount of sign language, and used the vocalizations to emphasize important key words, as well as for names. Read Jean M. Auel's "Clan of the Cave Bear" to get a better glimpse as to who/what neanderthals were.

Sure, there were "terrible events" such as rape, but, remember, once upon a time, here in USA, white people thought that Native Americans were savages and black people were more like apes than humans. Yet we interbreed freely today, and no one thinks anything of it.

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