Your Grandmother Was a Neanderthal


Grandma Iza's portrait

That is if one of your X chromosomes comes from a woman whose ancestors are not from subSaharan Africa. In which case researchers at the University of Montreal have found that one of your great, great, great, 1700x generations ago grandmothers was a Neanderthal. As the press release from the study explains:

"This confirms recent findings suggesting that the two populations interbred," says [University of Montreal geneticist Damian] Labuda. His team places the timing of such intimate contacts and/or family ties early on, probably at the crossroads of the Middle East.

Neanderthals, whose ancestors left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago, evolved in what is now mainly France, Spain, Germany and Russia, and are thought to have lived until about 30,000 years ago. Meanwhile, early modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago. The question on everyone's mind has always been whether the physically stronger Neanderthals, who possessed the gene for language and may have played the flute, were a separate species or could have interbred with modern humans. The answer is yes, the two lived in close association.

"In addition, because our methods were totally independent of Neanderthal material, we can also conclude that previous results were not influenced by contaminating artifacts," adds Dr. Labuda.

Dr. Labuda and his team almost a decade ago had identified a piece of DNA (called a haplotype) in the human X chromosome that seemed different and whose origins they questioned. When the Neanderthal genome was sequenced in 2010, they quickly compared 6000 chromosomes from all parts of the world to the Neanderthal haplotype. The Neanderthal sequence was present in peoples across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.

"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals. This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details," says Dr. Nick Patterson, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, a major researcher in human ancestry who was not involved in this study.

The full press release describing the research is available here from Newswise.

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  1. I’m very creeped out by the idea of inter-special mating. Goddamn, that’s weird.

    1. Hey, you’re out in the woods, dirty, hungry, lonely. You find a chick, she’s dirty, hungry, lonely. You hook up. No big deal. What happens in the primeval forest stays in the primeval forest.

      1. So just another day at a municipal park then?

        1. Maybe like the original T.S.A.? In Schwarzenegger voice, “If you want to travel between continents, you will have to submit to an inspection. Do you have any sharp bone, stone, wooden implements on or about your person? No? OK, bend over so I can probe for contraband.”

          Hey, who knows, I have a friend who’s into muscle chicks.

          1. Riiiiight…a “friend”

      2. The original butter-face. I bet those Cro-Mags just went for the hot Neanderthal bodies.

        1. I’d do her

        2. She’s pretty. She just needs water, soap, a comb, and a smile.

          Or is it he?

    2. Eh, it’s more like a dachshund screwing a golden retriever. Now, the platypus – that’s something special, it’s got 5 sex chromosomes, one of which is mammalian and the other avian. They’re sequencing the genome, and I bet they find it’s the result of a freak interspecies mating.

      1. 4 mammals took turns gang-banging a bird?

        1. You said something about interspecies rape?

          That chimp is the original STEVE SMITH.

          1. A chimp names STEVE SMITH would be pretty awesome

            1. I’m trying to get Episiarch to name his boat RAPEAPE.

              1. Like the old cartoon?

          2. That has got to be the one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever seen.

      2. A wolf and a dachshund would have been more accurate but in fact we were more distantly related than that. The article states that Neanderthals left Africa 300000 to 700000 years before us and they likely diverged as species before that. Dogs diverged from wolves only around 15000 years ago.

        1. likely diverged as species before that

          Apparently not.

          1. The definition of species continues to change.

            1. See my post way below regarding my attempt to understand cladistic taxonomy.

        2. your faulty assumption is that natural selection proceeds at the same pace as the unintelligent design that produced dachshunds and retrievers (although I do like retrievers).

    3. if neanderthals and modern humans interbred and left genetic material that could be found in some of today’s population, then there was no “inter-special mating” by definition. They weren’t different species.

      1. Which is why their are no mules on the earth today!

        1. Humans are more closely related to bonobos than horses are to donkeys; neanderthals and cro-magnons were closer still – essentially two clans of the same species.

          1. Cladistics is interesting…”fish” no longer exist as a concept.

            IIRC, humans are more closely releated to tuna than tuna are to sharks.

          2. You Canadians might be more closely related to dyke-chimps…

          3. Knock off the pro-Neanderthal propaganda.

            1. Guess I chose the wrong time to dump the old “Paleo” handle, huh?

        2. mules are infertile and don’t leave their genetic material to be found in future generations therefore not the same case as neanderthal genes being found today.

      2. That is an outdated definition of species. This happens even today, for example: Macaca fascicularis and Macaca arctoides.

        1. Racist!

          1. Thank you!

        2. There’s no such thing as outdated when it comes to taxonomy. Classification is all in the mind, and serves to order your thinking, according to whatever purpose you have at the moment.

          For instance, I taught my students a 2 kingdom taxonomy because it was convenient for my purposes. I could ask them what characteristic divided plant from animal, and if they answered “cell walls” they were right.

          1. Classification is all in the mind.

            Indeed. The genetic difference between synechococcus 7942 and synechocystis 7002 versus between synechococcus 7942 and e coli is merely a figment of the imagination.

            1. Between which individuals? If you had a “perfect” DNA sequencer, you would find that every single genome from every single synechococcus 7942 to be slightly different from every other individual of synechococcus 7942. The concept of “synechococcus 7942” is a human construction. All classification schemes are merely models doing their very best to describe the real world.

          2. Ah, the vanity of nomenclature.

      3. Yes.

        And: “There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals.” says Dr. Nick Patterson.

        If Neanderthals mated with our “ancestors”, Neanderthals are our ancestors.

        Is this Dr. Nick from the Simpsons? Hello everybody; a Neanderthal mated with your grandmother–your ancestor.

    4. After watching the movie “splice” last night this post couldn’t have come at a more disturbing time.

    5. Shouldn’t there be a picture of Daryl Hannah getting plowed in Clan of the Cave Bear?

  2. My granny was not a Neanderthal. She was born in New Jersey . . .

  3. So this explains Max, then.

  4. I’d hit that.

  5. I just came here to read the STEVE SMITH jokes.

    1. Me too. Surprised he wasn’t the first to comment.

  6. My favorite Neanderthal theory is that they became Basques.

    1. Ah, this fits well with observation and Stephen Oppenheimer’s theory:

      Neanderthal ? Basques ? Irish.

      1. Racist?

      2. You have conflated being a racist with being a racialist. Doing so confirms deep-seated indoctrination inculcated into your mind from which you suffer.

        Racism is a political doctrine. Racism means living by forming an arbitrary group and then racing for the spoils of income taxation redistribution and granted political privileges.

        Feminists, homosexists, blackists, Hispanicists are all racists. Racists manifest themselves in groups like NOW, Act Up!, NAACP, La Raza (The Race).

        The preferred tactic of the racist is to accuse others of being racist.

        Racialism is an anthropological doctrine. Racialism means living by belief that one’s people, clan, tribe, group are superior to others based on evident factors like controlling land, others mimicry of the arts.

        Having your mind controlled means you are an instrument of big government, of statism, controlled by the intelligentsia who form your beliefs for you and inculcate those beliefs into your mind.

  7. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days?and also afterward?when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. — Genesis 6:4

    1. Note: I am no way claiming that the Neanderthals were the Nephilim of Genesis, its just interesting.

    2. (points finger and hisses)

        1. Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.

          1. Kevin McCarthy is better.

            1. Aw, shit; fucking joke handles from a previous thread. 🙂

          2. Love that ending with Sutherland, very scary at the time. Not a hiss though, more like a warbling noise as I recall.

      1. That wasn’t a hiss. More of a screech.

        1. But not a groan?

  8. I like the idea of the neanderthals having interbred with humans, as opposed them vanishing because humans killed them all.

    1. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

    2. Isn’t it possible that Neandertals were smarter and decided they didn’t want children that much?

  9. How far back in time would a current human need to travel before they were no longer compatible with an ealier modern human?

    1. What kind of compatible? Like the equivalent of your programs not being able to work with their files?

  10. Why is the Neanderthal in the picture filthy? That’s racist.

    1. She was getting it doggy-style in the mud from a Cro-Mag – he didn’t want to look at her.

      1. That might also explain why she looks so happy.

    2. I was thinking she probably cleans up really well. Give her one of those TV makeovers and she’d be a movie star. I mean, consider Julia Roberts and Jennifer Garner, for example, or Glenn Close!

  11. Both of my grandmothers were salt-of-the-earth, right-thinking, Mid-Western, white, Protestant, Republican Neandrathals, thank you very much.

  12. I recall a few years ago reading a pop-science article which claimed red hair was a Neanderthal trait. Has that since been debunked?

    1. Bugger off!

    2. Don’t know, but if it is true, at least it explains why red heads are supposedly more fiery than others.

    3. Has that since been debunked?

      It was never true.

      Native Australians have can have reddish hair.

      1. After all this time, there’s probably nobody on Earth without Neanderthal genes. So anyone could have Neanderthal traits.

    4. The genes that relate to red hair in Neanderthals are different than those that relate to red hair for moder Europeans. Which are still different from those that relate to red hair in Australian natives. Red hair is related to the depigmentation of living in a northern climate and can occur by various means.

  13. Neanderthals had bigger brains, right? Just sayin.

    1. Bigger something.

    2. Bigger brain-to-body-weight ratio doesn’t necessarily equate to intelligence, unless you truly believe blue whales are smarter than we are.

      1. Given their life style, I don’t doubt it.

      2. The Sperm Whale has the largest brain on the planet (18 lb), but the Dolphin and Orca have a higher brain to body-size ratio.

        But, yeah, the cetaceans have figured out L’Art de Vivre, indeed.

        1. bottlenose dolphins are genocidal rapist baby-killers. No shit. So not every cetacean uses their brains wisely.


  14. I went to highs school with a guy that looks just like every popular depiction of a Neanderthal: stout body, sloping forehead, giant brow ridge, etc. I became convinced at that point that we did interbreed rather than just forcing them into extinction. Turns out I was right. Stupid scientists can’t see the evidence in front of them.

  15. I guess that means Michelle Bachmann’s relatives weren’t from sub-Saharan Africa.

  16. This means, of course, that we are all hybrids of Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. And maybe some other subspecies we’re not aware of.

    1. That’s the old Homo sapiens sapiens, not the current, hybrid one.

      1. We’re greener! Our large lobed lawyers outlawed all the old, energy inefficient body types.

        1. I never succeeded in completely outlawing it, so I settled for social ostracism.

    2. One question that needs to be answered, did Home Sapiens become extinct because they were…you know…”Homo” Sapiens ?

      1. We’re not extinct … yet.

    3. there are definitely hybrids with florensis out there.

  17. “Your Grandmother Was a Neanderthal”

    Yeah, and your grandmother is on the porn sites “grannies riding big fat ones” as well as on “Grannies taking it in every hole” and “Grannies do grannies”

    1. and grannies with trannies

    2. Yo mamma’s so fat, she has a cake for her patronis.

      1. Yo mama’s so fat, I gave her AIDS.

  18. Looks like this needs to be updated.

  19. Sheesh! Some guys’ll screw anything!

  20. 30,000 years from now our ball of energy descendants will wonder, did the first Terminators really interbreed with puny humans?

    1. 30 000 years ? The singularity is only 30 years away from now.

      1. 29,970 years from not, the singularity will still be 30 years away.

  21. You’re a cantaloupe!

  22. Can we go back to the times when women-folk wore nothing and we could fuck them at will?


    1. most are fat moms & grannies

  23. But I thought the science was settled.

    1. looks like thinkin aint ur strong suit


  24. My last biology class was in 9th grade, 1983-84, so I claim no expertise at all, so someone who knows more please correct me.

    If I understand modern taxonomy, if the neanderthals were interbreeding with humans to their end, then humans and neaderthals never had a last common ancestor to demark a splitting point, so can never be two separate “clads”.

    1. The answer is probably in the original paper…Now, if only Ron could provide a link.

    2. Not “clads”, “Chads”, genetic hanging chads…

    3. The simplest explanation is that the definition of species is changing. It is only recently, with the advent of genomics, that we have been able to see how much genetic overlap species can have. Think of it this way, would it make sense that one day two species are magically entirely distinct? Evolution happens over long periods of time not in one day. When two related species are isolated this isn’t a problem but when they late come back into contact (such as this situation) or their ranges overlap (such as macaque species in south-east Asia) they may still be able to breed. We have no idea how easy this breeding was, for all we know maybe only members of each species with specific genes could produce viable offspring. It would only take a relatively small amount of viable offspring entering the population to make an impact considering how small the human population was at the time.

      1. I think I prefer throwing out the whole concept of species and sticking with the cladistic approach.

        You get a tree of “clads” each of which represents a last common ancestor and branching point. If humans/neaderthals diverge then come back together and breed, then that is still a single branch and doesnt fork.

        Ditto for the macaque.

        1. I would say that both are a far too simplistic.

          1. A “family tree” may be simplistic, but it seems accurate.

            I can tell how “related” I am to someone by how far back you have to go to find a common ancestor. Its true for a fellow human as well as a kangaroo or a tuna.

        2. whole concept of species

          Yeah cuz the difference between a crow and a puffer fish is so ambiguous.

          No species is fine. It just needs to be edited to say that if they can breed then they are the same species.

          So yes that would mean humans and neanderthals were the same species….only that they were morphologically distinct populations of the same species.

      2. I used to teach an undergraduate course in Evolution. I had to tell my students that speciation is contrary to my intuition. If I didn’t already know there were different kinds of living things, and had to guess what would happen over time, I would guess that selection pressure would operate to converge all living things into one compromise type.

  25. Is it wrong that my first thought is “this would make for a great Broadway musical”? It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but possibly with more facial hair…

    1. Staring Troy McClure?

      1. *Starring


  26. Oh, I did a report on this for a human anthropology class. Apparently Cro-magnons raped Neanderthals and then cannabialized them. They found Neanderthal bones in Cro-magnon caves that show evidence of being devoured.

    So much for the “Noble savage” myth since our earliest ancestors committed genocide.

    1. The mainstream Cro-Magnons never did anything of the sort. Those bones were the work of a few radicals.


      1. That was funny 30,000 years ago and it is funny now.

    3. It wouldn’t have been cannibalization if they were a different species.

      1. Whatever helps you sleep at night, monster

  27. I thought she was a Cylon!

    1. I would have prferred it if they had kept the resurrection techonology. Then every woman would like Grace Park, Tricia Helfer, and Lucy Lawless!

      1. *look like

        1. your first solution was better.

      2. Yeah, that would be an awesome place to be.

  28. I’m just hoping that evolution takes a more X-Men turn pretty soon (sans the whiny self-loathing).

    1. Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?


      The same thing that happens to everything else.

      1. Sort of like what happens when Hale Berry makes “Catwoman”?

      2. Heh. That just never starts being funny.

      3. Joss Whedon bitches about the delivery on that line, but Im not sure it makes much of a difference.

        She just took it from meh to awesomely bad. No one would remember the line if she had done it right.

        Whedon’s only other line in the movie is: “You’re a dick”.

        1. Whedon should stay out of the movie business.

          Also he should stay the fuck away from Fox and other broadcast networks and pitch his ideas to HBO, FX, AMC and Showtime.

          Seriously how many times does this guy need to be raped before he learns his lesson.

          1. My understanding is that on X-men, he was brought in to “punch up” the script late in the process and they kept exactly two of his lines.

            Other than getting far too much blame for X-men sucking, seems like easy money.


  29. Ya well the Neanderthals would put out for a few scrap bones, early human females you had to hit on the head with a club first then drag her heavy ass back to the cave.

    1. That’s why I just raided the Water Hoarder tribe’s grounds after mid-night and kidnapped their starving children, raped them, and then ate them and made clothing from their skins.

      Yeah, it sounds fucked up…But this was Pleistocene. It was a different time.

    2. Ya well the Neanderthals would put out for a few scrap bones, early human females you had to hit on the head with a club first then drag her heavy ass back to the cave.

      What happens North of the Wall, stays North of the Wall.

  30. I’ll be in my bunk.

  31. who possessed the gene for language

    Sigh. This is so tiresome. No such gene has been pinned down. Like any complex behavioral trait, language depends upon a large host of distinct abilities and the genetic basis of those abilities is far, far, far, from having been worked out.

    1. Oh crap i agree with New Mex…..

    2. This is true, but I’m sure we’ll find genes for the physical part of the brain responsible for language at least. For now it is all speculation.

      1. This is true, but I’m sure we’ll find genes for the physical part of the brain responsible for language at least. For now it is all speculation.

        There is a wide network of cortical and sub-cortical structures involved in language…and even figuring that network out is a long way down the road. Lots of work to do before we can map the brain-structure to the behavior to the genes.

        1. Considering the rapid advance of technology and understanding of biology it might not be that long of a road.

          1. Maybe, but I think it is a long road still. I am not alone in this view.


  32. who possessed the gene for language


    There is no way for them to know that as the human gene for language has never been identified.

    1. who possessed the gene for language


      Yes, is same gene.

  33. Did Neanderthals have domesticated dogs?

    Cuz if they did not that would explain why humans kicked there ass into extinction.

    1. Neanderthals DID have dogs. But groups of “specially trained” humans with armored bear-skins kicked down the entrance to their caves, and shot their dogs with atlatls over some herb that the Neanderthals favored.

      1. **BANG**


        **general confusion, fighting**

        “STOP RESISTING!!!”

        **sound of dogs being beaten with mammoth bones and yelping**


        “Oh, shit….wrong cave….”

  34. I thought that Darryl Hannah settled this science back in 1986.

    1. Rae Dawn Chong, 1981.

      1. I don’t recall that being inter-species, just inventing the missionary position.

        1. I thought she was the cro-mag woman taken by neanderthals…but the details are blurry. It was 1981 and there was a Chong in the film, so I did lots of pre-movie preparation to get in the right mood.

          1. You’re thinking of Daryl Hannah in Clan of the Cave Bear, which I mentioned up thread.

            1. I am thinking of Quest for Fire. I never saw or read the Clan of the Cave Bear.

              1. Took a peak at a Quest for Fire plot summary or two. Seems that they are divided on whether they were all supposed to be homo sapiens sapiens (with different levels of cultural development) or whether the main characters were neanderthal. This version agrees with my vague memories.


          2. Wait are you talking about Quest for Fire or Caveman?


            1. No. Silly. Caveman was a documentary. This one was speculative fiction.

            2. Atouk!

    2. By showing how humans could interbreed with fish?

  35. Your modern world frightens and confuses me. Where you see interspecial breeding, I see physical and emotional distress when combined with punitive and compensitory damages, cannot be remedied for less than $1.5 million dollars.

  36. Neanderthal women?


    You men of European decent disgust the 3 inch spear head embedded in my hip.

  37. Interesting how everyone assumes that the Cro-Magnons were the rapists, rather than the “Clan of the Cave Bear” scenario of a pretty Cro-Magnon woman getting plowed by a pack of hairy Neanderthals.

    I’d guess there was all sorts of hanky-panky going on all over the place. There was some hominid discovered in Russia, distinct from both Neanderthals and Modern humans, with evidence of interbreeding


      1. I’ll bet the centerfold hurts your arm like a bitch.

    2. It was only the clan leader’s son who raped her, not the whole clan.

      1. So, it wasn’t really rape-rape?

    3. Well the odds are 2 in 3 that the X chromosome comes from the mother.

      1. 3 in 4, you fool.

  38. Do a search on “almas” some time and see what you find.

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