Neanderthal Had Flings with Relatives, Other Human Ancestors

Traci Watson, USA Today, December 18, 2013


However it happened, a new DNA analysis shows that the modern and archaic humans living in the Late Pleistocene did more than flirt. The analysis reveals that at least three kinds of humans—Neanderthals, the enigmatic Denisovans and our own species—had amorous trysts leading to children of highly mixed evolutionary heritage. The research also hints that a mysterious fourth kind of human was playing the prehistoric field and suggests that some Neanderthals mated with relatives as close as half-siblings.


This steamy story begins with a toe bone discovered in 2010 in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. The scientists extracted DNA from the bone, which is at least 50,000 years old, and found it belonged to an adult female Neanderthal. Her short, stocky species lived side-by-side with our own Homo sapiens species for millennia before disappearing some 30,000 years ago.

The Neanderthal woman’s mother and father probably knew each other well—very, very well. The exact relationship is unclear, but according to the DNA, the woman’s parents could’ve been grandparent and grandchild, uncle and niece or even half-siblings. The woman’s DNA also testifies to past couplings between relatives, showing the woman’s parentage was not an isolated incident, the team reports in this week’s Nature.

{snip} It’s thought the Neanderthal population was extremely small to begin with, and climate fluctuations probably isolated bands of Neanderthals from each other, paleoanthropologist Katerina Harvati of the University of Tuebingen in Germany, who was not involved with the study, says via e-mail.

{snip} The small population may also explain another finding of the DNA analysis: Neanderthals show some of the lowest genetic diversity of any life form studied. That’s presumably because there weren’t many of them, leading to significant inbreeding.

But a few Neanderthals did look further afield for amore. The study confirms that our own species, Homo sapiens, occasionally had assignations with both Neanderthals and Denisovans, another form of early human known from only a few tiny bits of skeleton in Denisova Cave. The new results show that Denisovans and Neanderthals interbred, as well.

Most striking of all, the analysis found that Denisovans mated every so often with an archaic human that had arisen a million or more years earlier. The most likely candidate, the researchers say, is Homo erectus, an early human that began to spread out of Africa roughly 2 million years ago—many hundreds of thousands of years before Denisovans began to emerge as a separate branch of the human family tree.


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  • dd121

    Judging by how many are left today, diversity didn’t work out so well for them, either.

  • MekongDelta69

    A fling?! Really? That’s the word she uses.

    Did it go something like this back then?
    “Hey baby, wanna see the etchings on my cave walls?”

    • Edruezzi

      It must have been like a college campus back then, Everyone was doing it. These were savages after all. They didn’t have cable in those filthy caves.

      • stewball

        Why do you presume they were savages and that their caves were filthy.
        We are more like savages in this world.

  • JohnEngelman

    Miscegenation benefits human evolution because it increases genetic diversity. Good genes remain in the gene pool. Bad genes are bred out.

    Although Neanderthals and Denisovans were less intelligent than the modern humans who had recently evolved in Africa, and who left about 60,000 years ago, they did have genes worth having. That is why we have them.

    • So CAL Snowman

      I forgot what a boon sickle cell anemia has been for the White west.

      • Strike_Team

        LOL. What do you expect from someone who has no understanding of
        genetics, who merely posts quotes from the usual suspects as gospel and
        fact? Laughs. That’s what to expect.

      • Homo_Occidentalis

        Don’t leave out the higher rates of lactose intolerance, diabetes, hypertension, vitamin D deficiency, and obesity of non-whites. Miscegenation is dysgenic.

    • IstvanIN

      Racial genetic diversity is not a general good. Can you imagine animal scientists just randomly mixing different breeds of cows or pigs or chickens without any regard for the outcome? Not a single farmer would purchase the resulting offspring.

      • JohnEngelman

        Successful animal breeding requires the same genetic diversity and selection natural evolution does.

        Because of the emphasis on having thoroughbred dogs, dogs with pedigrees often have difficult personalities.

        • GeneticsareDestiny

          Having a larger gene pool to work with is beneficial. But outbreeding depression does exist. When you crossbreed organisms that evolved to survive in very different environments, you end up with offspring that are worse at surviving in both parents’ environments.

          There exists a middle ground between extreme outbreeding and extreme inbreeding where you have the ideal amount of genetic diversity to work with without your children becoming too outbred to successfully compete anywhere.

          I’m not sure exactly where to draw the line between a positive amount of genetic diversity and too much genetic diversity, but the line certainly does exist and it’s something we need to learn to deal with.

          • M&S

            It was either _The Ten Thousand Year Explosion_ or _Before The Dawn_ which mentioned that all modern populations before the middle of the 19th century rarely bred further than 20nm from where they were born.
            When you are paleolithic HG, I would assume that you are following a much wider territorial boundary in pursueing the elements of environmental resources and particularly the great herds you must have to survive.
            The question being whether this helps or hurts the cause of genetic diversity.
            At first, you would think that moving about lets you meet and greet new people. But if you are lost in the countryside, they tell you to stay put so that you don’t ‘walk past each other’.
            When you consider the effects of competition and very primitive vocalization as social skills, would it necessarily be a good thing to meet up with other groups whose very language (such as it was) and belief system could be different?
            Hunting together, sharing resources (flint quarries etc.) and certainly winter habitation together might seem normal but how likely is it that this would be necessary or practical in an environment covered by snow for 8 months a year anyway?
            If you are ten miles from X when a blizzard sets in or a large herbivore breaks it’s leg, you are sleeping where you are.
            Since the interbreeding is not shown to be heavy but only occasional, the supposition that this is a condition of social barter is out, IMO. Which furthers the likelihood that intergroup access was not only random but hostile. One’s mate is one’s companion and would YOU trade a sister to a stranger from another race for….what? What exactly is a load bearer and a lover and a baby maker worth? A few stones? A necklace of shells?
            I have a feeling that mortality was so high in that time that mankind valued his chattel rather more than we give him credit for.
            Finally, there is the female factor here. What is her mate selection motivator in crossing species lines? Can she recognize ‘an easier life’ or a ‘stronger mate’ as focused emphasis on just the HG necessities of life?
            This supposes that ‘genetic diversity’ has a value which, in a primitive environment where having kids is not planned and caring for pregnant women requires considerable dedication, the only real discriminator is going to be who brings in the most meat.
            And what -types- of diversity are we talking about that makes that practical? A longer leg? A better spearpoint?
            How does a woman judge this when it’s likely that everyone dresses to virtual mummification to beat the cold?
            I frankly don’t see much chance for evolutionary sweeps in this period. What I do see is opportunity costs, risks and genetic fixation of traits that all reflect highly upon inbred populations being selected for specific traits while breeding out lethal recessives as quickly as they arise.
            Given what we know of modern incest, both in Asia, Africa and America (it’s far from ‘taboo’) it seems likely that our entire model of what is ‘good genetics’ is warped by the modern day vision of cultural Marxism as endorsing miscegenation for reasons other than genetic health.

      • Bossman

        If you know what kind of outcome you want, then it is a good thing.

    • D.B. Cooper

      I wish we still had those genes for that 1,000 year lifespan our ancestors lost, probably through said “flings” and “trysts” with those “Giants in those days” who had shorter lives. (Gen 6:3)

      • Is this a joke?

        • Franklin_Ryckaert

          Yes, a Biblical joke.

      • Bossman

        It sounds as if like you’re a great believer in myths and allegorical tales.

    • BaronBaal

      Don’t know how you’d know anything about that considering that your people are well known for “keeping it in the family”, so to speak…

      • JohnEngelman

        My people are Episcopalians.

        • BaronBaal

          Yeah, and my people are Martians…

    • Luca

      Any cross breeding of two different types of humans who are not at approximately the same genetic level produces a medium offspring generally between the levels of the two parents. This means the offspring will probably stand higher than the “lower” parent, but not as high as the “higher” parent. There are, of course, variations to this rule but I’m sure you grasp the concept.

      What happened when the Spaniards decided to spread their seed across Central and South America? What happened when American slave masters decided to take slaves as concubines? Did we get a better outcome? Did we see a benefit of human evolution?

      If you are going to inter-breed, both parties must be on similar levels, only then can they keep the offspring at a static level or with hopes of improvement.

      Your first statement sounds dangerously close to liberal propaganda that was spoon fed to you. Be careful what you read and believe, examine it for common sense and historical fact.

      • Bossman

        When it comes to cross breeding the desirable outcome is highly subjective. When it comes to animals such as horses and dogs we already know what we want. With humans it is a different story. In the Americas, we can see the results of cross breeding everyday If the outcome does not produce geniuses, at least it is producing attractive women. One only has to watch the Miss Universe contest to see the results of that.

        • Luca

          The human results are random and mixed. Some good, some horrible.

          • Bossman

            Again, I would say that this is all subjective. Horrible to whom?

          • Luca

            It is not subjective when you can clearly measure IQ and crime rates. Then it becomes a matter of fact.

          • Bossman

            So all mixed breeds are imbeciles and criminals? You generalize too much on this subject. In the racially mixed societies of Latin America and the Caribbean islands what we see is that fair-skinned Mulattoes and Mestizos are generally at the top together with whites. Blacks and indigenous Indians are at the bottom of those societies.

        • ben no

          Miss Universe also include facial plastic surgery, fake tans, fake nails and hair dye, so its hardly the best example of natural beauty. Mixed race people will be attractive thanks to their white admixture, but at the same time, let down by their non-white admixture. The non-white have a low standard of beauty and what they often see as a beautiful face, is only moderately attractive by European standards. Europeans who are able to produce all-natural people with highly attractive faces on their own, and with their fair features preserved as well, making them all the more.

          Take your race-mixing bull elsewhere!

          • Bossman

            What applies to animals and plants should apply to humans as well. Humans are just another type of animal. Before Charles Darwin wrote is famous book, Origin of Species, he spent more than twenty years cultivating and cross breeding flowers and communicating with plant and animal breeders all over the world. The results of all that experimentation and observation was that there was such a thing as hybrid vigor. Charles Darwin was so sure of that phenomenon that he wanted to raise it to a law of nature.

      • ben no

        Thank you for being a bright spark like myself. Non-whites feebly like to tell us whites that we can benefit equally from racial mixing as they can. But the the fact that they strongly desire our admixture and we do not strongly desire theirs suggest otherwise. They really like to see our genetic influence in their faces and skin, and will find any excuse to justify the “benefits” of them mixing with us.

        They deserve a place in hell.

    • Extropico

      We need to interbreed with other species then to ensure our maximum viability in the semi-people’s republic. Of course, per Orwell, some people will not be forced to comply with the interspecies mandate promulgated from the Ministry of Truth.

    • gregCall

      I’m just curious, what do you base the statement that Neanderthals and Denisovians were less intelligent than early humans in Africa.
      Even though the common conception of them has historically been as primitives science tells us they may have been more advanced in many ways. For instance, Neanderthals were the first known type of human to use ritual burial for their dead, their tools and weapons were often more advanced and of finer quality than those of early humans.
      I will also comment on the flawed theory that man originated in Africa. That theory originally gained credence with the publication of a genetic study that claimed that human mitochondrial DNA could be traced to ancestral woman in Africa. Unfortunately the study was based on mathematical formulas and not one of the researchers in that group was a mathematician. An editor of the journal Nature checked their findings and showed that the data didn’t point to one woman of any genetic type rather to upwards of 50 million women and genetic type was unclear.The lead researcher of that group admitted publicly within 2 weeks of the papers release that it had been falsified, although the media and academia tend to ignore that fact as the original finding support their prefered world view rather nicely.

      • JohnEngelman

        Human evolution began in Africa about six million years ago when the Rift Valley developed, dividing the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees. The first human trait to develop in our ancestors was the human foot, and the ability to walk long distances on our legs without the use of our arms. Chimpanzees cannot do that.

        From there there is a steady progression to modern humans, who emerged in Africa about 100,000 years ago.

        Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans. However the parts that were larger were the parts that determined reflexes and coordination. The frontal lobes that determined conscious thinking were smaller.

        Remains from their campsites indicate that Neanderthals did not practice trade or plan for the future, and Cro Magnons did. It is not true that the Neanderthals had better weapons. The Cro Magnons had a more varied stone tool kit. They had the spear thrower. The Neanderthals did not.

        DNA and fossil evidence confirms the out of Africa theory of human evolution. It does not mean that the existing races are equal, or that race itself is a social construct. It does mean that our ancestors 60,000 years ago looked more Negroid than Nordic.

        • Edruezzi

          Guys, we have to get the science right. The Neanderthals descended from a population that left Africa earlier than when modern humans evolved. The Denisovans’ ancestors left earlier than that. They got far enough to have crossed Wallace’s Line. As for those who are proud of their Neanderthal descent, I don’t think they’ve seen a Neanderthal.

      • Edruezzi

        Are there any reconstructions of these Denisovans anywhere on the web?

    • hopeis4losers

      you are correct – we would’ve picked up the favorable genes from just a small amount of inbreeding, & we european-americans have 2 to 3% neanderthal genes & blacks do not. what we would’ve picked up from neanderthals would be things like resistance to regional illness (neanderthals had been living there for quite some time, we were just entering into that area), possibly some cold weather adaptation, possibly some genes that didn’t do much at the time, but somehow eventually indirectly assisted in developing intelligence (perhaps genes that affected how skull plates fuse). that’s the anthropology of it in a nutshell. we would’ve picked up whatever favorable genes they had to offer, but not the other stuff. that’s how it works!

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Homo Erectus – the missing ling in sub-Saharan African lineage. Up to 30%.

      I basically agree with the “out of Africa” theory but also think it was more complex than that. As we are finding out. Populations of humanesque types were out of Africa for a long time and the evolution of our species involves them at least as much as the genetic petrie dish of Africa.

      • JohnEngelman

        Homo Erectus evolved in Africa. Small numbers of Homo Erectus left Africa on one, perhaps two occasions. These evolved into Neanderthals and Denisovians.

        The basic idea of the out of Africa theory of human origins is that the vast majority of human evolution until about 60,000 years ago happened in Africa. The out of Africa theory is the scholarly consensus.

        • NeanderthalDNA

          “The basic idea of the out of Africa theory of human origins is that the vast majority of human evolution until about 60,000 years ago happened in Africa. The out of Africa theory is the scholarly consensus.”

          That’s so hard to say. We need to sequence more archaic genomes.
          Problem is, Homo Erectus (and a perhaps as yet unidentified hominid) seems to have stuck to the tropics…where his less than stellar cranial size dictates is the only place he could have existed. DNA + tropics = bad for recovery of sequencable materiel.

          • JohnEngelman

            Evolution can be traced by DNA even when fossil evidence is not available.

        • Edruezzi

          I’d wager you John Engelman that the scenario was far more complicated than that. I’ll give you a good example. We had the classification of existing mammals wrong for decades. Genetic sequencing led to a radical revision of the consensus.
          As for the state of the world today. The evening news and the populations that make up the OECD are a clear indication that genes influence outcomes for societies.

          • JohnEngelman

            I believe that genes are considerably more important than any other factor in determining not only intelligence, but also personality and character.

      • Edruezzi

        The cognitive evolution of Africans shut down. Merely having to deal with the cold of Ice Age Europe would have accelerated various aspects of European evolution. Europeans were the first humans to establish themselves in a cold environment. To put it in simple terms, the stupid and improvident and lazy and the fools who would rather pray to the gods to save them from winter instead of building good shelters died out and took their genes with them.

    • M.

      So could you tell us what are the good genes the Spaniards kept from the Aztecs in today’s Mexicans? It’s so obvious miscegenation didn’t benefit those. They’ve dumbed down. Which is what happens when mix with a dumber race.

    • ben no

      Nice try, but this is much closer to the truth. Miscegenation
      clearly benefits all non-whites. It’s a win-win situation for them. They get to
      ethnically cleanse whites while gaining greater beauty and creative intelligence
      from their admixture. Whites themselves are genetic perfection in comparison to
      the non-whites – they can only be destroyed, not improved by any non-whites.

      It is very arguable that whites looks most attractive with minus non-white admixture, where as non-whites often look better (if not best) with white admixture. Its not even/equal and never will be, though you desperately like to pretend that it is. How sad and foolish.

      Miscegenation is genetic cannibalism with whites as pray and
      non-whites as predators.

      Also, it is important to note that when you’re mixed race its next-to-impossible to get a bone marrow transplant if needed. So you’re born with a fatal floor in your system to boot. Yes, it really sounds like a great survival option to me…not.

      • Boris_baiter

        I think everyone is forgetting that natural selection does not work anymore among humans; the environment we live in does not kill off the genetically inferior as it did throughout the vast majority of human history. We all live longer, less nasty and brutish lives (OK, most of us) than prehistoric humans, but at the expense of short circuiting the evolutionary process. In fact the lowest stratum of society is reproducing at much higher rates than the higher strata. Interesting description of this issue and a possible solution is contained in the novella “The Marching Morons” by Kornbluth.

        Also, the bone marrow transplant is usually only needed well after the reproductive years, so it is evolutionarily irrelevant even if natural selection were still working today.

        BTW, a minor point, it’s “prey” not “pray”.

  • bigone4u

    When the different peoples weren’t fighting and killing each other, they were mating with each other. Prehistoric versions of mudsharking and oil drilling, rather like today. I wonder what the world would be like if the groups had not been in phsycial contact and had evolved separately. Instead of African slavery, would we have had Neanderthal slaves in the South?

    • Neuday

      A difference without a distinction?

    • William_JD

      Or vice versa? Remember, Neanderthals were smarter than modern humans.

  • Bossman

    So Neanderthal man was an inbred retard who eventually disappeared. That is to be expected.

  • Paleoconn

    Apparently all races except sub-Saharan Africans have small % of Neanderthal DNA.

  • Hunter Morrow

    Neanderthals is the insult for Whites. Well, why can’t we call blacks apes then?

    They are the only race without that neanderthal DNA.

  • Rhialto

    The environment that hominids lived in, until recently, was a highly competitive one. Genetic or social deficiencies spelled doom for the individual or group that had them. If a group benefited by a dose of Denisovan genes, the carriers lived to reproduce more Denisovan genes. If not, the genes and the carrier (phenotype) perished.

    Today in modern European societies, equipped with a Welfare State, the main characteristic for genetic survival is the ability to reproduce. This is great, while the Welfare State exists. If the Welfare State perishes, the fate of humans whose main ability is reproduction, may not be too favorable.

    Google Spielelman’s Monster for an instructive lab experiment.

  • Don’t africans still try to breed with lower (or are they actually higher but weaker) primates?

  • Source?

  • Paul Bodnick

    Found each other on Christian Mingle

  • cecilhenry

    This bullshit article cant even be consistent in its claims. That there was a lot of diversity, yet very little in Neaderthals.

    Key question to always ask: Why was this information produced? Cui bono.;

    • Bossman

      I wrote yesterday that it sounds like Neanderthal man was an inbred retard who eventually disappeared. The moderator at this website somehow doesn’t want me to say that.

    • Edruezzi

      The Neanderthals were probably dying out in their last 50,000 years on Earth so they were probably mating with their cousins and committing incest.

  • Bossman

    Not only did humans originate in Africa, but all mammals also. Africa used to be a super continent and all the other continents slowly drifted away from it. Read the book: Mammalian Radiation by John. F. Eisenberg.

  • scutum

    “an archaic human that had arisen a million or more years earlier. The most likely candidate, the researchers say, is Homo erectus, an early human that began to spread out of Africa roughly 2 million years ago.” Homo erectus is still with us, just look around next time you go to the local mall. Or better yet, watch America’s Most Wanted; it has an all minority cast, most of whom belong to that arcaic group of humans known as Homo Erectus.

    • M.

      The African homo sapiens mated with other now-extinct hominid species after the second migration to Europe. So they have some admixture Europeans don’t have.
      That other species sure wasn’t the smartest homo out there, or else it would’ve shown.

  • M.

    The race-traitors went extinct. Good riddance.

  • M.

    Okay, but the U.S. aside, it’s obvious that the Mexicans didn’t benefit from miscegenation as they have dumbed down from their Iberian counterparts. Which is what one would expect when Latins (overall smart) interbreed with Aztecs and Negroes (less smart)*. There was no “hybrid vigor”. Just the expected average between the two races.
    Same for other Hispanic American countries, and Brazil.

    *A good country to measure the Amerindians’ IQ is Ecuador (mostly Native). The average IQ in that country is 80. That of Spain is 99. And Mexico (65% Mestizo; 18% Amerindian) got 87. Exactly what you’d expect from a such a crossing.

  • Terra Magnum Imperium

    Agreed, I have read that the average Mexican Illegal has an IQ 5 points lower then the country average.

    I live in an area with a large Indian “Guajarati” population, Most of the Indians here are from Middle-Upper class higher IQ families with Patel being a common sir name which denotes heretical landownership.

  • Edruezzi

    Yeah, something we’d put in the zoo today.

  • ben no

    East Asian people, especially women, strongly desire to mix with us whites the most to give birth to mixed children, as the’re really dissatisfied with the way they turned out on a deeply profound racial level, and are the most jealous and envious of European features. If you let them, they would completely flood the whole of Europe to gain from our admixture and at our expense. Its too bad that most white nationalists, especially the men, are not wise to the evilness within the midget North Mongoloids, and spend all their time hating on Blacks, Hispanics and Middle Easterners.