A human jawbone found in Romania was recently analyzed by scientists. Researchers found that the man who lived 40.000 years ago had the biggest amount ever recorded of Neanderthal DNA ever recorded.
All modern humans have Neanderthal DNA inherited from their ancestors, but the percentage varies.
Europeans and Asians have between 1 and 4 percent genetic material belonging to the Neanderthal species.
However the remains of the man found in a Romanian cave, have a 6 to 9 percent amount of Neanderthal DNA.
Scientists say that this is the most that has ever been recorder in a modern or ancient member of the human species .
Groundbreaking discoveries were made by Svante Pääbo in 2010 when he published a comparison between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal DNA.
He found that all ethnic groups in the world excepting the decedents of Sub-Saharan Africans had at least 1 percent of genetic material inherited from Neanderthals
Initially most of the DNA comparison performed on the fossil discovered in Romania resulted in favor of human genetic material, but most of it belonged to the people that handled the remains back when it was discovered in 2002.
Scientists believe that in order for the amount of DNA shown in the final test to be true, Neanderthals and humans should of mated just 4 to 6 generations earlier.
So, if the lab work is correct , the ancient human remains found in Romania belong to a man who’s great grand parents had coupled with Neanderthals.
An intriguing fact is that the genetic traits present in the 40.000 year old remains are not present in any of the modern human ethnic groups.
Previous analysis of other fossil remains pointed out that modern humans and Neanderthals interbreeding happened most recently around 50-60.000 years ago in the Middle East.
In the case of the European human remains it would mean that 10.000 years later, members of the Homo Sapiens were still mixing with Neanderthals.
There are some theories on how the fossil came to exist and why it did not leave any ancestral genetic traits in modern Europeans.
One of them is that this particular human was part of a group of humans that migrated from the Middle East and somehow became extinct after settling and mating with Neanderthals in what is current Romania.
Image Source: iser.ro