Did humans and Neanderthals make a love connection?

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Neanderthal genomes recently sequenced by scientists have revealed that we humans mated with Neanderthals over thousands of years…Just about every human today…has around 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal genes in every cell of their body.

Humans have been around for 200,000 years. But only 6,000 years of it has been recorded. New genetic science is starting to fill in the gaps. And the story it’s starting to tell is gripping.

So, yes, humans and Neanderthals had sex. But…could a human and a Neanderthal fall in love?

“All we really know is that some offspring of humans and Neanderthals eventually got incorporated into human populations, because what we see is small fragments of genomes in human populations,” says [Adam Siepel, a genetics researcher at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory].

These hybrid individuals, stuck between two species and probably a little less healthy for the intermixing, were accepted into our human society enough to start families. To kick off the chain of moms and dads that has left its mark on so many of us.

How different were the Neanderthals from us? “If you were to compare two random modern human chromosomes, you’d see a difference every thousand base pairs,” Josh Akey, a genetics researcher at University of Washington, told me. With Neanderthals, you’d see a difference once every 750 base pairs.

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