Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Did they do it ?

on NYTimes

Dedicated to my sidey, Apeman Zuch !!

Neanderthals may have seen their first modern Homo sapiens some 100,000 years ago in what is now Israel. The two people almost certainly came in contact in Europe in the last centuries before the dwindling Neanderthal population was replaced forever by the intruding modern humans.

The question was, he continued, "Did Neanderthals and modern humans do it?"

Dr. Erik Trinkaus, a Neanderthal expert at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not at the meeting, contends that the 24,500-year-old skeleton of a young boy found in Portugal appeared to be a Neanderthal-Homo sapiens hybrid. The interpretation has so far been viewed with skepticism.

"It was not bad genes but bad luck for the Neanderthals," Dr. Stringer said. "Modern humans may have had no direct effect on Neanderthal extinction. They actually walked into empty spaces where Neanderthals had already disappeared."

Dr. Ian Tattersall of the American Museum of Natural History was not entirely joking when he suggested that few genes were exchanged because "no self-respecting Neanderthal female would fancy a Homo sapiens male."

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