Research ArticleEVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Nuclear DNA from two early Neandertals reveals 80,000 years of genetic continuity in Europe

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Science Advances  26 Jun 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 6, eaaw5873
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5873

Abstract

Little is known about the population history of Neandertals over the hundreds of thousands of years of their existence. We retrieved nuclear genomic sequences from two Neandertals, one from Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave in Germany and the other from Scladina Cave in Belgium, who lived around 120,000 years ago. Despite the deeply divergent mitochondrial lineage present in the former individual, both Neandertals are genetically closer to later Neandertals from Europe than to a roughly contemporaneous individual from Siberia. That the Hohlenstein-Stadel and Scladina individuals lived around the time of their most recent common ancestor with later Neandertals suggests that all later Neandertals trace at least part of their ancestry back to these early European Neandertals.

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