A team of international scientists has discovered evidence for the earliest known instances of interbreeding between modern humans and our extinct Neanderthal cousins.
Co-led by Professor Adam Siepel from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on Long Island, NY, the team found evidence of interbreeding dating back to approximately 100,000 years in the past – several millennia before any other existing documented interbreeding event.
Siepel remarked in a press release from CSHL that the idea of Neanderthals interbreeding with modern humans is nothing new – genetic sequencing of Neanderthal DNA in 2010 provided evidence of that – but the current window for that interaction was between 47,000 and 65,000 years in the past, roughly congruent with the human diaspora from Africa. The evidence he and his team gathered in their new study predates that event by a considerable margin. The implications such a discovery has on the current narrative of human migration are many, and may even serve to re-write it.