How Many Human Species Did Our Ancestors Have Sex With?

Man may not be all its cracked up to be. Homo sapiens, it turns out, had sex with other hominins: Neanderthal and Denisovan, certainly, and possibly a whole host of others. We just havent found their remains yet, explains Prof. Svante Pbo, father of paleogenetics and the first to fully sequence the Neanderthal and find some of him lurking in our genes.

Its all the rage to have our genes analyzed and share our personal percentage of Neanderthal DNA on Facebook. Among all non-Africans tested so far, about 2 percent of the genome is Neanderthal. Homo sapiens mated with them after leaving Africa, very possibly in Israel.

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Asians have yet more genes from a second extinct human species, the Denisovans. Certain Pacific Islanders have a genetic signal from a third, and there may be yet more unknown human species lurking in our ancestry.

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