GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2012-08 > 1345027523
From: Jonathan Day <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Neanderthals did not interbreed with humans,scientists find
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 03:45:23 -0700 (PDT)
The short answer is that humans were able to breed with the common ancestor to humans and chimps for between half-to-one million years after the splitting of the lineages.
However, after that point, the species had diverged too much and had become independent species. It is not until that point that "Chimpanzees" existed. Until then, hominids and chimps were merely variants of the parental species. You would no more expect to find Chimpanzee SNPs than orchid SNPs.
The slightly longer answer is that if you WANT to call the common ancestor a "Chimpanzee" (which is horribly incorrect, but some do) then the above article shows that such SNPs have indeed been found. If you want to look up the paper the newspaper was citing and rebut that, please do.
As far as I'm concerned, that case is utterly closed, watertight, surrounded by sandbags and concreted into the floor of Fort Knox - unless you can show a more recent paper specifically falsifying the results described here. (No, a paper commenting on more recent SNPs, or the lack of "Humanzees" is not sufficient.)
Homo Neandertal was certainly never an independent species, any more than Homo Denisovian. They were of our species. They had diverged, yes, and given another quarter of a million years Neandertals would certainly not have been capable of interbreeding. It is very possible that the last of the Neandertals (14K-25K years ago, something like that) would not have been capable either.
But we're not talking about such people or such a level of divergence.
The original start of the split is out at 700K BP, the end of the split is put at around 400K BP. So far, so virtually identical to the common ancestor to humans and chimps.
"Results indicate that Neandertals are slightly more closely related to modern humans outside Africa. The team also identified several genomic regions that appear to have played an important role during human evolution." (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Genetics, Neandertal Genome Project)
This is simply not achievable at the 400K BP mark. As I have already pointed out, it is sheer lunacy to go with the more complex, less credible explanation if that's the data you have. As noted, I don't care about Chimp SNPs, Chimps didn't exist at the time of the split or until mutual incompatibility existed.
Do you have an explanation for what HAS been observed?
Why isn't human DNA seen in Neandertals? Try data point. We have more human DNA fully sequenced than we have ever found of Neandertal bones. We know where they were because of their arts and crafts (possibly including bone flutes and paintings) and - above all else - their stone tools. You aren't getting blood (or DNA) out of a stone, no matter how hard you try.
The vast majority of samples that do exist have never been tested because you've got to pulverize them and museums are rather reluctant to do that with exceptionally rare and valuable finds.
We have ONE finger tip from Homo Denisovian. That's it.
To argue a statistical point WITHOUT acknowledging that the Law of Large Numbers applies ONLY when you have large numbers is to demonstrate a real weakness with the logic. One fingertip is enough to tell us an enormous amount about A genome of Homo Denisovians, but it would be incredibly foolish to assume that it tells us anything at all about the variations that existed, DNA mixtures added after said fingertip owner lived (or even before on any other Denisovian branch).
Why don't we find Neandertal mtDNA? Because:
1. mtDNA is the pure female lineage, any break whatsoever and it no longer exists.
2. For the above reason, there is also no mix-n-match between male and female, so things preserved for a single generation on a male line in mtDNA will cease to exist the generation after.
3. FamilyTreeDNA has 387,542 records (many of which won't include mtDNA), the Genographic Project has 524,384 records (ditto). Out of a population of 7 BILLION. Yes, the Genographic Project has done fairly well coverage-wise, but it has holes.
4. Neither of the above two are heavily involved in archaeological DNA, so they only show lines that survive until today. Lines that survived until 1990 but then died out entirely would not be in their data sets. I have asked a few times on this list when the last non-mitochondrial-Eve line is thought to have died, with no response. I assume this to mean that the best estimate anyone has is "before people tested".
In conclusion, the rebuttals you offer simply don't fly. I'm happy to listen to something a bit more concrete, but what you're offering is built on quicksand. You're not explaining the observations, but rather making some dataless assumptions that you show can't be valid. Oh, I've seen professionals make those kinds of statements all the time. Never once have I tolerated it from them. Either they can make a solid case or they don't have one.
(Needless to say, most don't now talk to me.)
--- On Wed, 8/15/12, <> wrote:
> From: <>
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Neanderthals did not interbreed with humans, scientists find
> Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 1:26 AM
> But I always ask, where are the chimpanzee SNP?
> Why it does not appear among the human SNPs?
> They should be here, if Neanderthal interbreed with human
> Conversely, where are the Neanderthal mtDNA?
> Why it does not appear among the human SNPs?
> They should be here, if Neanderthal women interbreed with
> human men!
> No response is a powerful argument against the Neanderthal
> with humans.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jonathan Day" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 3:59 AM
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Neanderthals did not interbreed with
> > The biggest problem I have with this alternative theory
> is that I don't
> > see that it DOES explain all of the data. My
> understanding is that there
> > is an east-erst divide between people with Denisovian
> markers and those
> > with Neandertal markers and a north/south divide
> between those with the
> > extra markers and those without, where boundaries show
> diffusion of the
> > sort you'd expect if the two northern groups had
> founding events in the
> > north.
> > Can anyone confirm/deny I have the starting point
> essentially correct?
> > If my understanding has any basis in reality, then it
> would be excessively
> > complex to explain an origin of Denisovian and
> Neandertal markers in a
> > pre-mitochondrial-Eve/pre-y-chromosome-Adam time-frame.
> You'd have to
> > assume a staggering degree of isolation between the
> groups (or they'd have
> > diffused beyond our ability to distinguish by now) AND
> you'd have to
> > assume multiple migrations from Africa in which those
> who became European
> > not only left first but never stopped in Asia.
> > This fails the test of being as simple as possible (too
> many complicated
> > requirements) but also of being no simpler (it assumes
> a single, simple
> > hierarchical tree rather than a directed graph, and
> that is just too
> > simple a model to be remotely plausible - evolutionary
> biologists spend
> > just about every waking hour screaming at people that
> there IS no tree,
> > nearby branches merge and re-divide all the time).
> > --- On Tue, 8/14/12, Elizabeth O'Donoghue/Ross <>
> > wrote:
> >> From: Elizabeth O'Donoghue/Ross <>
> >> Subject: [DNA] Neanderthals did not interbreed with
> humans, scientists
> >> find
> >> To:
> >> Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 1:33 AM
> >> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9474109/Neanderthals-did-not
> >> -interbreed-with-humans-scientists-find.html
> >> Another opinion
> >> -------------------------------
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