Neanderthals ‘had sex’ with modern man

Neanderthal Skeleton, AMNH
Neanderthal skeleton

‘Modern humans and Neanderthals had sex across the species barrier, according to a leading geneticist who is overseeing a project to compare their genomes.

Professor Svante Paabo, director of genetics at the renowned Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, will shortly publish his analysis of the entire Neanderthal genome, using DNA retrieved from fossils. He aims to compare it with the genomes of modern humans and chimpanzees to work out the ancestry of all three species.

Modern humans arrived in Europe from Africa about 40,000 years ago to find Neanderthals already living there. The two species then co-existed for 10,000-12,000 years before Neanderthals died out — a fact that has caused endless academic speculation about whether they interbred.

Paabo recently told a conference at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory near New York that he was now sure the two species had had sex — but a question remained about how “productive” it had been.’ (Times.UK).

Research Reveals That Apocalyptic Stories Changed Dramatically 20 Years Ago

From Dr. Strangelove: Major "King" K...
Slim Pickens riding the bomb

“Most major religions, going back thousands of years, tell stories about the End of the World. And post-apocalyptic fiction is perennially popular. So why, in the last twenty years, has the apocalypse ceased to matter?

I recently finished a thesis project on post-apocalyptic genre fiction, and in my research I made a list of 423 books, poems, and short stories about the apocalypse, published between 1826-2007, and charted them by the way their earth met its demise (humans, nature, god, etc.) to see the trends over time.

It’s not the idea of Ending itself that has faded – that will be around until we are actually mopped off the face of the Earth. It’s the actual moment of disaster, the blood and guts and fire, that has been losing ground in stories of the End. Post-apocalyptic fiction is a 200-year-old trend, and for 170 of those years, the ways writers imagined the end were pretty transparently a reflection of whatever was going on around them – nuclear war, environmental concerns, etc. In the mid-1990s, though, everything just turned into a big muddle. Suddenly, we’d get a post-apocalyptic world whose demise was never explained. It was just a big question mark.” — Chanda Phelan (io9).