Apparently, the mating habits of Neanderthals and early modern humans have become a hot topic amongst the scientific community the past few years. A new article on USAToday.com about this subject shows that the debate about whether the two hybridized is alive and well:
That seems like pretty strong evidence for interbreeding between Neanderthals and early modern humans, folks who are thought to have migrated out of Africa around 65,000 years ago. Neanderthals vanish from the fossil record about 30,000 years ago in Europe.
But not so fast, says a Proceedings of the National Academies of Science report led by Andrea Manica of the University of Cambridge, out Monday. The study suggests that a common ancestor of both humans and Neanderthals dating to around 350,000 years ago and living in both Europe and Africa might explain the genes shared with the vanished sister species, rather than interbreeding.
Unfortunately, there have been no press releases about a time machine being created, so there is no conclusive way to find out what happened in the dark caves of Europe and Asia thousands of years ago.