Home » Human evolution, News » Assumptions about Neanderthals “must be revised” on the basis of “severely degraded DNA”?

Assumptions about Neanderthals “must be revised” on the basis of “severely degraded DNA”?

Something about all this doesn’t sound quite right: From “European Neanderthals Were On the Verge of Extinction Even Before the Arrival of Modern Humans” (ScienceDaily, February 25, 2012), we learn,

New findings from an international team of researchers show that most Neanderthals in Europe died off around 50,000 years ago. The previously held view of a Europe populated by a stable Neanderthal population for hundreds of thousands of years up until modern humans arrived must therefore be revised.

Climate change is suggested as a cause. Interesting interpretations, but

The results presented in the study are based entirely on severely degraded DNA, and the analyses have therefore required both advanced laboratory and computational methods. The research team has involved experts from a number of countries, including statisticians, experts on modern DNA sequencing and paleoanthropologists from Denmark, Spain and the US.

Only when all members of the international research team had reviewed the findings could they feel certain that the available genetic data actually reveals an important and previously unknown part of Neanderthal history.

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3 Responses to Assumptions about Neanderthals “must be revised” on the basis of “severely degraded DNA”?

  1. You just have no faith in the ‘promissory note’. One day, all will become clear. All that is required is patience… and… and research funds.

  2. Some of us don’t mind that they chose to work with substandard DNA, but we do mind that we are all asked to revise our opinions based on the results.

  3. Agreed about changing scientific opinions based on substandard DNA, but isn’t anyone going to question the claim that this DNA is 50,000 years old? How long can DNA really last, scientifically speaking?

    I’m sure the results of this study will be difficult to validate by someone else doing the same study. That is one problem here.

    They say this in the article too:
    “DNA from prehistoric people has led to a number of unexpected findings in recent years, and it will be really exciting to see what further discoveries are made in the coming years”, says Juan Luis Arsuaga, professor of human paleontology at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid.”

    I know the idea of “prehistoric people” is part and parcel of the current origins paradigm, but I question this too. I guess I believe that Adam and Eve were the first people and that they were not prehistoric, but lived from the beginning of history like Jesus said.

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