Neanderthal Genes Gave Homo Sapiens The Ability To Adapt

By Rodney Rafols , Nov 13, 2016 11:54 PM EST

Modern humans owe much of what they have because of their ancestors. Many people are unaware that much of their traits have been because of hominids before the modern Homo sapiens. One of those hominid groups are the Neanderthals. Neanderthal genes gave Homo sapiens the ability to adapt.

Much of the genes that we have are because of what Neanderthals gave modern humans. Even though Neanderthal genes are only two to four percent of the overall genome sequence for modern humans, these have been vital in making the modern human to adapt outside of Africa. The first modern humans stepped out of Africa prepared to take on the fierce world that awaits them.

Joshua Akey of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle said that hybridization, or the interbreeding of modern humans with other hominid groups, isn't just trivial but is actually an important part of human history. Without this interbreeding modern humans won't be able to thrive as much as they have now.

Most modern humans have with them some Neanderthal genes. Earlier it has been identified in a report that some groups of Melanesian ancestry have Neanderthal and Denisovian genes in them. While modern humans have these genes, it is still not entirely clear how those genes affect humans, or what exact roles do they have.

What has been found out so far through the mapping of the human genome is that part of those that come from Neanderthals give the characteristic of the skin, as Science Daily reports. Others have much to do with immunity. These have been found to be vital in the survival of humans especially in harsh conditions.

These genes that stayed on with humans gave the modern man more advantages, according to Phys Org. When Homo sapiens and Neanderthals interbred, much of the Neanderthal genes were taken out. This is called selective breeding, wherein the undesirable traits were taken out while those that would ensure survival were kept. Since Neanderthal populations were much lower than modern humans, the Neanderthal line soon died out while leaving the much more resilient modern Homo sapiens to thrive and flourish.

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