Monday, August 11, 2008
Researchers at the Max-Plank institute have now sequenced an entire Neandertal mtDNA. John Hawks has a detailed discussion of what it shows. Basically it indicates a divergence between the evolutionary line leading to Neandertals and that leading to modern humans at about 660,000 years ago, which roughly corresponds with other estimates. It also suggests that Neandertals and modern humans are far less similar than was previously estimated. What interests Hawks most is that the nature of the differences suggests that they were more likely due to selective pressures operating on modren humans rather than simply genetic drift.
Read the whole thing here.