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March 5 2013

Interbreeding With Neanderthals


elltale evidence of ancient liaisons with Neanderthals and other extinct human relatives can be found in the DNA of billions of people.

David Reich, a geneticist at the Harvard Medical School, has redrawn our species’ family tree. And today, in his office overlooking Avenue Louis Pasteur in Boston, he picks up a blue marker, walks up to a blank white wall, and shows the result to me. He starts with a pair of lines—one for humans and one for Neanderthals—that split off from a common ancestor no more than 700,000 years ago.

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