Human Evolution

Infections carried by ancient humans from Africa probably contributed to demise of Neanderthals

Infections carried by ancient humans from Africa probably contributed to demise of Neanderthals

A latest study has suggested that ancient humans, who had moved out of Africa, could have infected Neanderthals with herpes. There have been a number of theories regarding demise of Neanderthals. According to the researchers of the new study, the infections brought by humans from Africa could have led to that downfall.

They have identified many types of infections that probably had made the species of hominins sick. The infections include tapeworm infection, tuberculosis, stomach ulcers, and the specifically striking disease herpes.

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Researchers carry out first in-depth genetic analysis of Neanderthal Y chromosome

Researchers carry out first in-depth genetic analysis of Neanderthal Y chromosome

A research paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics has unveiled new facts about the relationship between Neanderthals and modern humans and genetic factors that have kept two lineages separate. Earlier research has indicated that modern humans and Neanderthals may have interbred at different times and at different regions.

In the study, researchers have completed the first in-depth genetic analysis of a Neanderthal Y chromosome. The Y chromosome was the main factor that was yet to be assessed from the Neanderthal genome.

Incompatibilities in DNA of Neanderthals and modern humans probably limited impact of interbreeding between them

PENDING-Incompatibilities in DNA of Neanderthals and modern humans probably limited impact of interbreeding between them

This might be the case that incompatibilities in the DNA of Neanderthals and modern humans restricted the impact of interbreeding between these two groups. Now, it is commonly known that a number of modern humans have 4% Neanderthal DNA.

However, a latest analysis of the Neanderthal Y chromosome, which is the genes’ package passed down from fathers to sons, has demonstrated that it is absent in modern populations.

Satellite Imagery hints at Second Viking site in North America

Till date, archaeological site L’Anse aux Meadows is considered as the only Viking site in the Western Hemisphere. Now, archaeologists have discovered another Viking site with the help of satellite imagery. They believe the discovery may unravel more about the history of Vikings.

As per historians, Vikings traveled long distance to enter North America about a thousand years ago. Discovery of the new site in North America may allow researchers to rewrite understandings about Vikings, who are famous for their fearsome conquests.

Study: Hobbit Species vanished Thousands of Years Earlier Than Previously Believed

Study: Hobbit Species vanished Thousands of Years Earlier Than Previously Believed

Extinct species Homo floresiensis discovered in Indonesia more than a decade ago vanished much earlier than previously estimated, suggests a new study. The study also stated that modern humans could be behind the extinction of this mysterious and diminutive species.

Craig Venter Institute Researchers identify Minimum Number of Genes needed for Organism to Survive

In an attempt to examine a gene’s function, researchers picked a bacterium’s DNA. The aim was to determine minimum set of genes required for life, as per the researchers.

They designed a synthetic microbe that is capable of living with just 473 genes. Compared with human genome that has over 19,000 genes, the newly developed microbe has very few genes, the minimum achieved till date. The new development could help in leading to new research in genetic sciences, said researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Number of viral DNA in human genome goes up with discovery of 19 new pieces

Number of viral DNA in human genome goes up with discovery of 19 new pieces

Viral DNA strands have been found in a genome analysis conducted on data for 2,500 individuals from across the world. Already 17 pieces of viral DNA in the human genome have been discovered in studies conducted in the past. In a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health, 19 new pieces left by viruses in human ancestors thousands of years have been discovered. Researchers from Tufts University and the University of Michigan Medical School have also found a complete stretch of DNA with full genetic code for an entire virus.

Pennsylvania farm is suspected to have strains of listeria in its milk products

Pennsylvanian farm is suspected to have strains of listeria in its milk products

Listeria outbreak is making news since 2014, but no ultimate cause has been detected till now. However, recently federal health officials while tracing the infection came to conclusion that raw milk sold by Miller's Organic Farm in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, is responsible for this outbreak. The raw milk was found containing the bacteria-causing listeria infection. People who were drinking unpasteurized milk or used milk products from farms have contracted the infection.

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Ancient human race interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans on multiple occasions

Ancient human race interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans on multiple occasions

Modern human’s ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and another species of early humans on multiple occasions, as per a new study. It suggests our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and Denisova hominin on at least four separate occasions in the past.

Our improved immunity to pathogens is the result of that prehistoric mating, said the study authors. “This is yet another genetic nail in the coffin of our over-simplistic models of human evolution”, said Carles Lalueza-Fox of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology. Lalueza-Fox wasn’t part of the study.

Meat-heavy diet could have allowed early humans to derive enough energy from meals with minimal chewing

Meat-heavy diet could have allowed early humans to derive enough energy from meals with minimal chewing

With little food processing and introduction of meat in the diet, ancient humans might have reduced the need for chewing food. With lower count of chews per meal, they were having time for more activities. Also, adding meat played an important role as it had higher nutritional value compared to vegetarian diet.

Human skeletons started changing in notable and puzzling ways when our genus, Homo, got separated from other hominins more than 2.8 million years back. For example, Homo erectus was quite taller and possessed a bigger brain case as compared to the Australopith ancestors.

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