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Ancient DNA studies of early modern humans and late Neanderthals

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Over the last few years, the sequencing and the analyses of archaic genomes, as well as genomes of ancient modern humans, were crucial in our understanding of the origins, the movements, and the relatedness among archaic, past, and present-day human populations. Whereas genomes of present-day humans provide an indirect evidence of the processes that have formed them over long periods of time, ancient DNA provides insights into population history that would otherwise not be accessible. Genome-wide data from both early modern humans and late Neandertals, spanning the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe, were obtained through recent advances in ancient DNA methodology and have provided better understanding of the levels of interaction between the two hominin groups. The recovery of the genome-wide data from an early modern human from Romania, Oase 1, demonstrated that the admixture between modern humans and Neandertals was not limited only to the ancestors of present-day non-Africans, but that probably occurred in Europe at a later point in time. Moreover, our recent recovery of the five late Neandertal genomes enabled the reconstruction of their genetic history by showing that their relatedness can be well predicted by their temporal and spatial distance, as well as that all late Neandertals were equidistantly related to the Neandertals that contributed to the genomes of present-day and ancient humans.

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

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