Does this mean that Neandertals belong in our species, Homo sapiens?That makes me want to go back to the poll we did on Friday and think about what that means. The 4% of you who were disturbed at the idea of not being fully human can take comfort in the notion that Neanderthals were fully human. (If you are 100% African, you don't have to deal with this issue.) The 21% of us who thought it was thrilling to have some Neanderthal are perhaps less thrilled. But 75% percent of us didn't care one way or the other. Now, there's even more reason for there to not be a difference.
Interbreeding with fertile offspring in nature. That's the biological species concept.
Now, some paleontologists might still disagree -- maintaining that species are units that can be distinguished morphologically, or by one or more derived features, or any number of other definitions. That's fine with me, as long as they're clear. But understand: It does define all non-Africans today as an interspecific hybrid population.
So maybe they want to rethink that one?
May 9, 2010
The amount of Neanderthal DNA we have is the equivalent of one totally Neanderthal great-great-great grandparent.
Observes anthropologist John Hawks (who writes "Neandertal," which I presume is the official academic spelling). Hawks also has a lot more detail, written comprehensibly, so check it out, if you want to understand how the news about Neanderthals was discovered and what it means. Excerpt: