Neanderthal Father and Denisovan Mother

Study from Max Planck Institute

We had a hint of this from an earlier post … Genome of a 50/50 Denisovan-Neanderthal Hybrid

This article gives more information.


I was waiting for this. Thanks so much for posting. I am so excited. I can’t wait to read the paper!


Paging @AJRoberts Can you please forward this paper to Faz and ask him if this 13 year old Denisovan-Neanderthal Child was human with all of the theological encumbrances like an immoral soul, made in the image of God, and original sin? Thanks so much.


More on Denny:

It does raise a few more interesting questions - hybridisation common, but small representation in modern genomes. And then again, although one might speculate on war parties with clubs, anything else rather supposes that at least they might be able to talk to each other, or otherwise see themselves as similar. It begins to look like the “lumpers” may have the high ground.

Meanwhile it soundsa bit like a bedouin insult doesn’t it? “Your father was a Denisovan, and your mother was a Neanderthal!” (Spits).


With regards to hominids other than Homo Sapiens perhaps. I collected to evidence for significant genetic barriers to hybridization with what I call humans below…

Most of the heat I got was for only considering our species to be human. It was hard to deny the rest because I was mostly just linking to studies.

I am curious why they view Denisovans, Neanderthals, and older homo sapiens as different species. Perhaps they are all extremes of the same species. If we take species to be defined based on reproductive boundaries, then there is evidence of interbreeding between Neanderthals and Denisovans as well as between Neanderthals and humans. There is evidence for a hybridisation event between Neanderthals and humans 270000 plus years ago leading to a change in the mitochondrial DNA of Neanderthals to become more similar to that of humans while the nuclear DNA remains close to that of the Denisovans.
And perhaps modern humans arose 30 to 40 thousand years ago as a new species. Sexual incompatibility with Denisovans and Neanderthals is a fairly recent event coinciding with the emergence of modern man with the globular brain.

It turns out that those boundaries are a little fuzzier and nature more complicated than our labeling system. Lions and Tigers are obviously different species with significant barriers to hybridization yet some cross-breeding does occur. Same with horses and donkeys and probably some other examples I could name if I thought about it. I think a more modern definition of “species” based on reproductive boundaries would acknowledge there could be some interbreeding but have fancy language to suggest that “nature would fight it”.

I believe I read the study on this once. I came up with a couple of other explanations for the data which I thought equally plausible. But even if this happened it would suggest the inter-breeding was Neanderthal males taking what-would-be Sapiens women. It is hard for me to think of a scenario where the mtDNA of Western Neanderthals was largely replaced by human mtDNA yet the Nuclear dna remained similar to Denisovans rather than something in-between us and them.

That occurred to me as well. It fits the data. But we need more data, in particular skulls from Africa from 50-60 K ago. I have seen intriguing hints that the globular brain was already around. IOW what we may be seeing with the brain shape in European and Mid-eastern fossils is that due to interbreeding with Neanderthals Sapiens in those regions lost their brain shape and gradually regained it as nature slowly eliminated the Neanderthal contribution from the genepool, and this escalated possibly due to some replacement so that the earlier human form in Africa re-emerged.


Chris Stringer’s thoughts


I’m looking for some DNA from the Red Deer Cave People. Perhaps a relic Denisovan population or a mix of them and the earlier wave of humans which was almost replaced by the main OOA wave…


So all Denosivans and all Neanderthals lived prior to GA and GE? I guess that means that they didn’t have souls, weren’t made in the image of God, and didn’t have original sin. I am good with that. And good with them being called humans. Therefore not all humans have souls, not all humans are made in the image of God, and not all humans have original sin. I am good with that also. Glad we are done with all that now and we can look forward to the next great result in human origins.

@Patrick The problem with that logic is that you and me are neither Denisovans or Neanderthals. I’m also good with turtles not causing wars, but that still leaves me in the political world.