Archive for the ‘Neanderthal’ Category

How Much Neanderthal Do You Have in You? Prove it!

Sunday, December 18th, 2011


23 and Me, the genetics company offering to break down and explain customers DNA using only a spit sample is now allows you to check for another variable.

Exactly how much Neanderthal DNA do you have in you?

The lab, developed by one of our resident computational biologists, Eric Durand, compares two modern human genomes with the Neanderthal genome to determine the percentage of your own DNA is Neanderthal. Before coming to 23andMe, Eric worked on the first draft of the Neanderthal genome and on analysis of the Denisova genome, another of our early human cousins. The method we use to determine the percent of Neanderthal DNA a person has is similar to the one Eric helped develop while working at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

The 23 and Me blog, cleverly titled The Spittoon, says that most people have some degree of Neanderthal DNA but a minority of the human population has much more.

[The Spittoon]

Humans Have Better Sense of Smell than Neanderthals

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011


Studies of the similar sized, but differently shaped brains of humans and Neanderthals have revealed one key difference. Our sense of smell is more accurate and intense.

So was reality different for our genetic cousins? Before you dismiss smell as a trivial attribute to survival, consider this:

Olfactory information projects to brain regions directly responsible for processing of emotion, motivation, fear, memory, pleasure and also attraction. Neuroscientists have coined the term “higher olfactory functions” to describe those brain functions which combine cognition (memory, intuition, perception, judgment) and olfaction. The greater olfactory bulbs and relatively larger temporal lobes in H. sapiens compared to any other human species may point towards improved and different olfactory sense possibly related to the evolution of behavioural aspects and social functions.

Was this evolutionary advantage part of the reason why we survived and they didn’t? How much did this effect general behavior? Is that burning? Did I leave the iron on when I started typing this post?

…I’ll be right back.

[Science Daily]

Neanderthal Males Want To Know If You Have Your Tickets? To The Gun Show!

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010


Skeletal remains of a primitive Neanderthals shows the males of the species were hormonally jacked and wielded “Popeye”-esqe arms.

Project leader Maria Mednikova told Discovery News that Neanderthal males hunted in the “extreme,” helping to beef up one arm.

“The common method for killing animals was direct contact with the victim,” said Mednikova, a professor in the Institute of Archaeology at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The next step for this area of research confirming the ultimate masculinity of the Neanderthal? Being printed in full on muscle tees to be worn by UFC fighters during their ring entrance.