Humans, Neanderthals interbred thousands of years earlier than first thought, research shows

Published February 18, 2016 

A new study has shown that humans interbred with Neanderthals approximately 100,000 years ago, between 40,000 and 50,000 years earlier than first thought. 

The new study, published in the journal Nature, reports that genetic analysis of the remains of a Neanderthal woman detected residual DNA from Homo sapiens, a sign of inter-species mating.

The discovery by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology forces scientists to reasses the accepted timeline of when humans migrated out of Africa to other parts of the world. 

One theory is that the recently discovered interbreeding arose from what scientists call a failed dispersal. That refers to a small population of Homo sapiens trekking to the Middle East and other parts of Eurasia, but failing to establish lasting colonies. 

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