The Widespread Appearance of Neanderthal DNA: Africans Have It Too
Up until M. Gallego Llorente’s Mota man article and the Haber article, researchers claimed that Africans had no relationship to the Neanderthals. But Prufer et al found that the Khoisan share more alleles with Altaic Neanderthal than Denisova.
Earlier depiction of a Neanderthal. ( paleolithicpersonhood)
Haber has noted that derived DNA in all non-Africans is more closely related to Neanderthals from the Caucasus: Alraic Neanderthal(s).
In the Supplemental section of Prufer et al’s work, there is considerable discussion of the relationship between Neanderthal and Khoisan. In relation to the Altaic Neanderthal, non-Africans have a lower divergence rate than Africans - between 10-20%. Prufer et al (2013) note little statistical difference between non-African and African divergence.
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An interesting finding made by Prufer et al (2013) was that Altaic Neanderthal and Denisova are estimated to have similar split times. However, the divergence estimates for African Khoisan-Mandekan and Altaic is younger than the split between Africans and Denisova archaic individuals and modern African individuals. The split times between the Khoisan and Mandekan may be explained by the presence of AF-24 haplotype in West Africa.
Khoisan engaged in roasting grasshoppers on grills. 1805. Aquatint by Samuel Daniell. ( Public Domain )
Prufer et al (2013) detected a relationship between Neanderthals and the Mandekan. This is not surprising now that we know the Mandekan have 2% Eurasian ancestry, according to Pickerell et al.
In summary, diverse African populations carry Eurasian ancestry. As a result, researchers will probably find more Africans that carry Neanderthal ancestry in the future.
Top Image: Reconstruction of what a Neanderthal may have looked like in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany. Source: כ.אלון/ CC BY SA 3.0
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