Researchers have published the results of a new study showing that breeding between Neanderthal and early people was much more common than previously thought. Early people and Neanderthal lived together for about 30,000 years and were sure to have frequent contact at that time. Earlier, researchers found that at least one mating of a neanderthal and an early human resulted in a progeny, the fact reflected in modern DNA.
The researchers point out that about 2% of DNA in non-African people today is Neanderthal origin. Current research has shown that some people in eastern Asia have up to 20% more neanderthal DNA than people who are strict European descent. Data for the study were drawn from the 1000 Genome project and measured the amount of Neanderthal DNA in the genetic material from volunteers.
The process involved separating data into groups of people in European and Asian ancestors. When the data was separated, it appeared that several interbreeding events between early people and Neanderthal have been found. Researchers then created simulations that showed the results of different number of mating events between the two groups.
These data were then fed into a machine learning algorithm that showed DNA percentage patterns based on crossbreed events that occurred. The result of this showed that many crossbreed events between early human and neanderthal in both East Asia and Europe had occurred.
This research was done by scientists Fernando Villanea and Joshua Schraiber of Temple University. The work was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. Other Neanderthal research conducted last year showed that they had bigger brains than modern people.