In DepthHUMAN EVOLUTION

When modern humans met Neanderthals

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Science  09 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6538, pp. 115-116
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6538.115

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Summary

For decades researchers have wondered about the time when modern humans first ventured into the heart of Neanderthal territory in Europe. Now, two new studies of ancient genomes offer a glimpse into the identities of those first moderns to set foot in Europe and their relationships to the last Neanderthals. One study, in Bulgaria's Bacho Kiro cave, found that modern humans dated to about 45,000 years ago had interbred with our extinct cousins as recently as six generations, or 160 to 180 years, previously. But another study, of a dark-skinned, dark-haired, brown-eyed woman who may be the oldest known modern human in Europe, found that her ancestors had no recent contact with Neanderthals.

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