Neanderthals in your genes, unless you are African, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News 17 March 2016. Over the past few years there have been a number of genome studies that found Neanderthal genes in modern humans and modern human genes in Neanderthals. Joshua Akey, a population geneticist of the University of Washington, Seattle, and an international team, have developed a statistical method for analysing the results of these studies and working out how much gene mixing has occurred between Neanderthals, “modern humans” and a group of “archaic humans” known as Denisovans, who are similar to Neanderthals.
According to Science News: “The researchers conclude that if you’re an East Asian, you have three Neanderthals in your family tree; Europeans and South Asians have two, and Melanesians only one. (Africans, whose ancestors did not mate with Neanderthals, have none.) Add in two additional liaisons known only from fossil DNA, and the ancestors of modern humans and Neanderthals mixed it up at least five times. (Any matings that produced no offspring can’t be traced.) Meanwhile, the Denisovans bred at least once with Melanesians”. (Bracketed statements in original)
Scientists are using the data from this study to draw up an evolutionary tree of when Neanderthals and modern humans branched off from a common human ancestor. According to this theory Neanderthals migrated out of Africa into Europe and Asia before modern humans and when modern humans moved into Europe and Asia they interbred with Neanderthals, but modern humans who remained in Africa did not.
Editorial Comment: First of all, we need to note these studies are looking at alleles, i.e. variations of the same genes found in both Neanderthals and modern humans, not genes for structures or functions that only exist in either Neanderthals or modern humans.
The finding of these gene variants in both fossil people and living people, whatever you call them, indicates they are all one kind. This fits with other studies of Neanderthal fossils and their living sites showing that they are fully human.
The lack of Neanderthal genes in Africans can easily be explained by the Biblical history of the human race, rather than by an evolutionary tree from a hypothetical pre-human African ancestor. All human beings, alive or dead, are descendants of Adam and Eve, and all living human beings are descendants of Noah’s family, i.e. the eight people who survived the Flood. After the judgement at the Tower of Babel the human population was split up into a number of small groups who migrated away from Babel. Whatever gene variants each group carried with them would have been passed down over the next few generations, and as they wandered far and wide there would have been very little interbreeding between the groups.
The descendants of those clans who migrated into Africa would not have mixed with the descendants of those clans who migrated into Europe and Asia for many generations. Neanderthals lived in Europe and western Asia, and, as we have said many times before, were just ordinary people who had to scrape up a living in the harsh conditions of ice-age Europe and western Asia, and whose bones were distorted by a poor diet, lack of sunlight, arthritis and hard physical work. Their brain size, hand function, artefacts and living spaces indicate they were intelligent resourceful people.
Meanwhile, people continued to migrate over the earth, and the decreased sea levels during the ice ages made migration easier as there would have been land bridges and shorter distances between islands. Therefore, it is no surprise that Melanesians and East Asians share some gene variants with people who lived in Europe and western Asia. (Ref. genetics, genomes, anthropology)
Evidence News vol. 16, No. 6
13 April 2016
Creation Research Australia