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Yuval B Simons, Guy Sella
Over the past decade, there has been both great interest and confusion about whether recent demographic events-notably the Out-of-Africa-bottleneck and recent population growth-have led to differences in mutation load among human populations. The confusion can be traced to the use of different summary statistics to measure load, which lead to apparently conflicting results. We argue, however, that when statistics more directly related to load are used, the results of different studies and data sets consistently reveal little or no difference in the load of non-synonymous mutations among human populations...
October 13, 2016: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Paige Madison
A fossilized skeleton discovered in 1856 presented naturalists with a unique challenge. The strange, human-looking bones of the first recognized Neanderthal confronted naturalists with a new type of object for which they had no readily available interpretive framework. This paper explores the techniques and approaches used to understand these bones in the years immediately following the discovery, in particular 1856-1864. Historians have previously suggested that interpretations and debates about Neanderthals hinged primarily on social, political and cultural ideologies...
September 2016: British Journal for the History of Science
Julie Arnaud, Stefano Benazzi, Matteo Romandini, Alessandra Livraghi, Daniele Panetta, Piero A Salvadori, Lisa Volpe, Marco Peresani
OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study is the assessment of Nadale 1, a Neanderthal deciduous tooth recently discovered in Northeastern Italy in the De Nadale cave (Middle Palaeolithic). Together with the clear archaeological context of the site, this study brings new insight on Neanderthal behavior and dental morphological variability. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We used microCT data to provide a morphological description and morphometric analysis (diameter measurements and dental tissue volumes) of the Nadale 1 human tooth...
October 5, 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Jeffrey D Wall, Debora Yoshihara Caldeira Brandt
Modern humans evolved in Southern or Eastern Africa, and spread from there across the rest of the world. As they expanded across Africa and Eurasia, they encountered other hominin groups. The extent to which modern and 'archaic' human groups interbred is an area of active research, and while we know that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans, there is not yet agreement on how many admixture events there were or on how much Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA can be found in contemporary genomes...
September 20, 2016: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Montgomery Slatkin
In the past few years, the number of autosomal DNA sequences from human fossils has grown explosively and numerous partial or complete sequences are available from our closest relatives, Neanderthal and Denisovans. I review commonly used statistical methods applied to these sequences. These methods fall into three broad classes: methods for estimating levels of contamination, descriptive methods, and methods based on population genetic models. The latter two classes are largely methods developed for the analysis of present-day genomic data...
September 5, 2016: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Dongsheng Lu, Haiyi Lou, Kai Yuan, Xiaoji Wang, Yuchen Wang, Chao Zhang, Yan Lu, Xiong Yang, Lian Deng, Ying Zhou, Qidi Feng, Ya Hu, Qiliang Ding, Yajun Yang, Shilin Li, Li Jin, Yaqun Guan, Bing Su, Longli Kang, Shuhua Xu
The origin of Tibetans remains one of the most contentious puzzles in history, anthropology, and genetics. Analyses of deeply sequenced (30×-60×) genomes of 38 Tibetan highlanders and 39 Han Chinese lowlanders, together with available data on archaic and modern humans, allow us to comprehensively characterize the ancestral makeup of Tibetans and uncover their origins. Non-modern human sequences compose ∼6% of the Tibetan gene pool and form unique haplotypes in some genomic regions, where Denisovan-like, Neanderthal-like, ancient-Siberian-like, and unknown ancestries are entangled and elevated...
September 1, 2016: American Journal of Human Genetics
Bart de Boer
Speech is the physical signal used to convey spoken language. Because of its physical nature, speech is both easier to compare with other species' behaviors and easier to study in the fossil record than other aspects of language. Here I argue that convergent fossil evidence indicates adaptations for complex vocalizations at least as early as the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans. Furthermore, I argue that it is unlikely that language evolved separately from speech, but rather that gesture, speech, and song coevolved to provide both a multimodal communication system and a musical system...
August 3, 2016: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
John S Taylor, Thomas E Reimchen
The Neanderthals' northern distribution, hunting techniques, and orbit breadths suggest that they were more active in dim light than modern humans. We surveyed visual opsin genes from four Neanderthals and two other archaic hominids to see if they provided additional support for this hypothesis. This analysis was motivated by the observation that alleles responsible for anomalous trichromacy in humans are more common in northern latitudes, by data suggesting that these variants might enhance vision in mesopic conditions, and by the observation that dim light active species often have fewer opsin genes than diurnal relatives...
August 2016: Genome Génome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada
Iosif Lazaridis, Dani Nadel, Gary Rollefson, Deborah C Merrett, Nadin Rohland, Swapan Mallick, Daniel Fernandes, Mario Novak, Beatriz Gamarra, Kendra Sirak, Sarah Connell, Kristin Stewardson, Eadaoin Harney, Qiaomei Fu, Gloria Gonzalez-Fortes, Eppie R Jones, Songül Alpaslan Roodenberg, György Lengyel, Fanny Bocquentin, Boris Gasparian, Janet M Monge, Michael Gregg, Vered Eshed, Ahuva-Sivan Mizrahi, Christopher Meiklejohn, Fokke Gerritsen, Luminita Bejenaru, Matthias Blüher, Archie Campbell, Gianpiero Cavalleri, David Comas, Philippe Froguel, Edmund Gilbert, Shona M Kerr, Peter Kovacs, Johannes Krause, Darren McGettigan, Michael Merrigan, D Andrew Merriwether, Seamus O'Reilly, Martin B Richards, Ornella Semino, Michel Shamoon-Pour, Gheorghe Stefanescu, Michael Stumvoll, Anke Tönjes, Antonio Torroni, James F Wilson, Loic Yengo, Nelli A Hovhannisyan, Nick Patterson, Ron Pinhasi, David Reich
We report genome-wide ancient DNA from 44 ancient Near Easterners ranging in time between ~12,000 and 1,400 bc, from Natufian hunter-gatherers to Bronze Age farmers. We show that the earliest populations of the Near East derived around half their ancestry from a 'Basal Eurasian' lineage that had little if any Neanderthal admixture and that separated from other non-African lineages before their separation from each other. The first farmers of the southern Levant (Israel and Jordan) and Zagros Mountains (Iran) were strongly genetically differentiated, and each descended from local hunter-gatherers...
August 25, 2016: Nature
Kwang Hyun Ko
Mitochondrial Eve confirms the "out of Africa" theory, but the evidence also supports interbreeding between Homo sapiens and other hominins: Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo heidelbergensis. This article explains how interbreeding between early H. sapiens and archaic hominins occurred. The availability of edible insects in East Asia aided the spread of the unaggressive, highly cooperative Neanderthals, who interbred with H. sapiens in Asia, resulting in a higher admixture of Neanderthal DNA in East Asian populations...
December 2016: Journal of Biological Research
Marlijn L Noback, Elfriede Samo, Casper H A van Leeuwen, Niels Lynnerup, Katerina Harvati
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
August 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Sahra Talamo, Mateja Hajdinjak, Marcello A Mannino, Leone Fasani, Frido Welker, Fabio Martini, Francesca Romagnoli, Roberto Zorzin, Matthias Meyer, Jean-Jacques Hublin
Anatomically modern humans replaced Neanderthals in Europe around 40,000 years ago. The demise of the Neanderthals and the nature of the possible relationship with anatomically modern humans has captured our imagination and stimulated research for more than a century now. Recent chronological studies suggest a possible overlap between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans of more than 5,000 years. Analyses of ancient genome sequences from both groups have shown that they interbred multiple times, including in Europe...
2016: Scientific Reports
Laurent Abi-Rached, Didier Raoult
With the advent of next-generation sequencing, paleogenetics has considerably expanded over the past few years and notably encompassed the characterization of the genomes of archaic humans who lived more than 30,000 years ago. These paleogenetics investigations have revealed that admixture between modern and archaic humans occurred, with Neanderthals having contributed to 1.5% to 2.1% of modern Eurasian genomes, and Denisovans to 3% to 6% of modern Melanesian genomes and to approximately 0.2% of modern Asian genomes...
June 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Montgomery Slatkin, Fernando Racimo
We review studies of genomic data obtained by sequencing hominin fossils with particular emphasis on the unique information that ancient DNA (aDNA) can provide about the demographic history of humans and our closest relatives. We concentrate on nuclear genomic sequences that have been published in the past few years. In many cases, particularly in the Arctic, the Americas, and Europe, aDNA has revealed historical demographic patterns in a way that could not be resolved by analyzing present-day genomes alone...
June 7, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
M Roussel, M Soressi, J-J Hublin
The discovery of an almost complete Neanderthal skeleton in a Châtelperronian context at Saint-Césaire 35 years ago changed our perspective on the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic in western Europe. Since then, the Châtelperronian has generally been considered a "transitional" industry rather than an Upper or a Middle Paleolithic industry because of its chronological position, and the association of Neanderthal remains with blades, bone tools and personal ornaments. Several competing hypotheses have been proposed to explain the association between Neanderthals and these types of artefacts including post-depositional mixing, acculturation from anatomically modern human populations, or an independent technological evolution by local Neanderthal populations...
June 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Jacques Jaubert, Sophie Verheyden, Dominique Genty, Michel Soulier, Hai Cheng, Dominique Blamart, Christian Burlet, Hubert Camus, Serge Delaby, Damien Deldicque, R Lawrence Edwards, Catherine Ferrier, François Lacrampe-Cuyaubère, François Lévêque, Frédéric Maksud, Pascal Mora, Xavier Muth, Édouard Régnier, Jean-Noël Rouzaud, Frédéric Santos
Very little is known about Neanderthal cultures, particularly early ones. Other than lithic implements and exceptional bone tools, very few artefacts have been preserved. While those that do remain include red and black pigments and burial sites, these indications of modernity are extremely sparse and few have been precisely dated, thus greatly limiting our knowledge of these predecessors of modern humans. Here we report the dating of annular constructions made of broken stalagmites found deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwest France...
June 2, 2016: Nature
Marie Soressi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2, 2016: Nature
Matthew F Barber, Zev Kronenberg, Mark Yandell, Nels C Elde
Lactoferrin is a multifunctional mammalian immunity protein that limits microbial growth through sequestration of nutrient iron. Additionally, lactoferrin possesses cationic protein domains that directly bind and inhibit diverse microbes. The implications for these dual functions on lactoferrin evolution and genetic conflicts with microbes remain unclear. Here we show that lactoferrin has been subject to recurrent episodes of positive selection during primate divergence predominately at antimicrobial peptide surfaces consistent with long-term antagonism by bacteria...
May 2016: PLoS Genetics
Kaleigh Anne Eichel, Rebecca Rogers Ackermann
Hybridization is increasingly proving to be an important force shaping human evolution. Comparisons of both ancient and modern genomes have provided support for a complex evolutionary scenario over the past million years, with evidence for multiple incidents of gene exchange. However, to date, genetic evidence is still limited in its ability to pinpoint the precise time and place of ancient admixture. For that we must rely on evidence of admixture from the skeleton. The research presented here builds on previous work on the crania of baboon hybrids, focusing on the nasal cavity of olive baboons, yellow baboons, and first generation (F1) hybrids...
May 2016: Journal of Human Evolution
Priya Moorjani, Sriram Sankararaman, Qiaomei Fu, Molly Przeworski, Nick Patterson, David Reich
The study of human evolution has been revolutionized by inferences from ancient DNA analyses. Key to these studies is the reliable estimation of the age of ancient specimens. High-resolution age estimates can often be obtained using radiocarbon dating, and, while precise and powerful, this method has some biases, making it of interest to directly use genetic data to infer a date for samples that have been sequenced. Here, we report a genetic method that uses the recombination clock. The idea is that an ancient genome has evolved less than the genomes of present-day individuals and thus has experienced fewer recombination events since the common ancestor...
May 17, 2016: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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