June 6, 2024 at 12:30 pm

Here’s How A Human Child Who Was Part Neanderthal Rewrote History

by Trisha Leigh

Source: YouTube

The length of human – or pre-human – history is so long and winding that it can be hard to grasp exactly how we got from there to here.

Experts say, though, that a hybrid child played a massive role in our evolution.

The body of a 4-year-old child, buried in a Lapedo Valley, Portugal pit, managed to disprove everything we thought we knew about the history of our species.

That’s because of their unique blend of modern human and Neanderthal features.

Source: PNAS.org

The skeleton of the “Lapedo Child” turned the theory that modern humans evolved in East Africa before replacing the more archaic hominids – including Neanderthals – completely on its head.

This is because the theory meant that Neanderthals and humans were too disparate of species to be able to interbreed. The Lapedo child proves that wasn’t true, and that the DNA of Neanderthals likely lingered in people’s bodies still today.

The Lapedo Child is thought to have been male, with the chin and inner ear of a modern human but the stocky frame and limbs of a Neanderthal.

The original study authors note that the child also died several thousand years after Neanderthals were thought to have died out, which meant that the boy possessed ancestral traits that could only be present in a “descendant of extensively admixed populations.”

Which is to say, interbreeding wasn’t a rare thing, but a common enough practice to result in significant hybridization.

Source: PNAS.org

This means Neanderthals never really died out, but merged with modern humans along the way.

If you’re wondering whether or not this could have been a scientific error, you’re not alone – it was so shocking at the time that plenty of archaeologists and anthropologists questioned it, too.

That said, the Neanderthal genome was completely sequenced in 2010 – a project that revealed all modern non-African populations are harboring between 1 and 4 percent of Neanderthal DNA.

All humans who are descended from outside of Africa are modern human-Neanderthal hybrids.

It’s always nice to hear a little bit more about our history, right?

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read about the mysterious “pyramids” discovered in Antarctica. What are they?