Do you know your ancestry? While all humans beings have their own varying histories, many are held together by one ancestral truth. They are all partly Neanderthals! A new Neanderthal woman has been found in Croatia, and the tests being performed on her are changing the way scientists perceive human genealogy.
This discovery may be more impactful news for humans that originated outside of Africa. For those who migrated out of Africa, scientists have cause to believe that Neanderthal DNA accounts for 1.8 to 2.6 percent of their DNA! Considering that the common belief had been that Neanderthals accounted for 1.5 to 2.1 percent, this new knowledge is a great leap forward in understanding the way that evolution and ancestry shape the life of the modern human. The genes that Neanderthals contributed to the modern human may affect cholesterol, mental health, body fat levels, and more. Don’t be too alarmed about the potential negative side effects of sharing Neanderthal DNA, though. The lead author on the study, Kay Prüfer, clarified that Neanderthal DNA is not definitively bad for your health. He said, “We find one variant that is associated with LDL cholesterol, and the variant we got from Neanderthals is associated with lower LDL cholesterol.” So, rest assured. Neanderthal DNA does not mean you will have certain health issues. It only means that you can.
These studies are not only teaching scientists about humans, though. By comparing the bone fragments of the Neanderthal found in Croatia with another Neanderthal found in Siberia, scientists discovered that Neanderthals are extremely similar in DNA to one another. Despite being from different parts of the world, both Neanderthals had strikingly close DNA structure. This closeness in DNA is most likely a cause of a small population. All of this information sheds a light on the low density of the Neanderthal population as well as their way of living.
While this discovery has greatly reshaped the way that we view modern human DNA, research on Neanderthals persists. Scientists hope to find even more information that will teach people about the history of Neanderthals as well as their influence on the human race.