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Wed May 19, 2021, 07:46 AM

If Neanderthals and Sapiens were separate species

how do I have their DNA?Wouldn't their offspring be unable to reproduce...like a mule?

12 replies, 1500 views

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Reply If Neanderthals and Sapiens were separate species (Original post)
prodigitalson May 2021 OP
marble falls May 2021 #1
70sEraVet May 2021 #2
Glorfindel May 2021 #3
prodigitalson May 2021 #5
electric_blue68 Jun 2021 #12
Random Boomer May 2021 #4
PoindexterOglethorpe Jun 2021 #11
Warpy May 2021 #6
prodigitalson Jun 2021 #7
Warpy Jun 2021 #8
prodigitalson Jun 2021 #9
Warpy Jun 2021 #10

Response to prodigitalson (Original post)

Wed May 19, 2021, 08:03 AM

1. No, it just seems like some of their political offspring act like mules.

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Response to prodigitalson (Original post)

Wed May 19, 2021, 09:13 AM

2. I don't know why I never thought to ask the question

I guess that the scientific breakthroughs of DNA analysis are much swifter than the derailments of old ideas.
Apparently, the scientific community is wrestling with the same question.
I had trouble copying this link.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/our-neandertal-brethren/

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Response to prodigitalson (Original post)

Wed May 19, 2021, 09:45 AM

3. Not necessarily. Dogs, coyotes, and wolves interbreed with enthusiasm

and their offspring are fertile. Wolf-dogs, coydogs, and coywolves are real things, and living among us. The coywolves, especially, are thriving. Here's an article:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/coywolves-are-taking-over-eastern-north-america-180957141/

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Response to Glorfindel (Reply #3)

Wed May 19, 2021, 06:35 PM

5. Gonna read that tonight. Aren't dogs, coyotes and wolves

all the same species?

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Response to Glorfindel (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 9, 2021, 11:59 PM

12. Ligers, and Tigons and ??!??!!! Oh, my! ; )

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Response to prodigitalson (Original post)

Wed May 19, 2021, 02:42 PM

4. The concept of "species" is fuzzy

Humans have created this abstract concept of species, and it is a generally useful idea, but the details of what separates similar animals into two separate species are less precise than many people realize.

Homo sapiens has only existed for about 300,000 years and our branching off from Neanderthals and Denisovans hominoids is recent enough that we could still breed and produce viable offspring. Whether we can even call ourselves separate species may have more to do with human pride than with scientific fact.

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Response to Random Boomer (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 10:51 AM

11. Homo sapiens did not branch off from Neanderthals.

We had a common ancestor 300,000 to 700,000 years ago. So we are (were) more or less cousins.

We have learned an enormous amount about Neanderthals in recent years. I highly recommend Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art by Rebecca Wrag Sykes. She points out that most of what we know about them comes from bones and stones. Almost nothing else that they had or used or made has survived. But what we've been able to glean from bones and stones, as well as some DNA testing, is remarkable.

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Response to prodigitalson (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 01:34 PM

6. Separate species can produce viable offspring

but usually the first generation males are sterile. The examples are horse-donkey producing mules, offspring between lions and tigers.

We did share a vast amount of DNA with them, I think around 95%. Better facial reconstructions have shown they might be stared at on a subway, but they really weren't all that different from us. The lifestyles at the time were quite similar and likely technology was shared along with DNA.

Bottom line is that they were human, they were people, and we didn't always pick fights with them.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 1, 2021, 01:49 PM

7. So usually the offspring is sterile but not always?

So would it be safe to say there were enough differences to classify them as separate (human) species, but ones that were more genetically similar than a tiger and a lion or a donkey and a horse?

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Response to prodigitalson (Reply #7)

Tue Jun 1, 2021, 02:16 PM

8. Female offspring are sometimes fertile

which is how we get things like designer wild/domestic cat hybrids. The fertility rate isn't 100% for females, which is why we have such a low percentage of Neandertal DNA in modern humans outside Africa. The farther apart the species are, the lower the female fertility rate.

We were very close to Neandertals, about 95%. Fertility among female hybrids was likely common, while males shot blanks. Some studies have suggested an early disappearance of the Neandertal Y chromosome fairly soon after contact, but that hasn't been conclusively proven. Studies have also suggested Neandertal populations had declined to a point inbreeding was beoming a problem by the time we left Africa, but that hasn't been conclusively proven. All we know for sure is that part of that species lives on in us, that we didn't simply see them and slaughter them like people thought we did 50 years ago.

(I'd love to see a friendly domestic cat with the Pallas cat coat and range of facial expressions, but alas, the divergence was too long ago and they're most likely incompatible)

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Response to Warpy (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 03:52 PM

9. Thanks for the info

Are there ever fertile female mules?

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Response to prodigitalson (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 3, 2021, 05:13 PM

10. Very rarely but it has happened. NT

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