Neanderthals remain one of the great mysteries of human evolution. They are our closest relatives, but their habits elude us. We are learning more about our hominid cousins every day, but there is still so much we do not know, including the mystery of Neanderthal mating habits, as there is not a lot of evidence to describe what Neanderthal sex would have been like. Thankfully there are new advances in genetic paleontology shining a light on this elusive subject, and the discoveries surrounding ancient human mating rituals are fascinating.
Prehistoric sex was complicated, especially when navigating a dating scene that spanned multiple different hominid species. Scientists have uncovered proof that humans and Neanderthals likely mated with each other, and we're still feeling the effects of that crossbreeding today. Our Neanderthal cousins were just as freaky as we are in many ways, and in some ways they were even freakier then we ever could be.
Humans Definitely Had Sex With Neanderthals
Even though modern humans and Neanderthals are completely different species, that did not stop the two from shacking up. We know for a fact that humans and Neanderthals had sex with one another, and that's all thanks to DNA testing. A genetic analysis run on the remains of a 40,000 year old human uncovered that 11% of his genome wasn't actually human, but Neanderthal. It's the highest concentration of Neanderthal DNA ever found in a human. There are people alive today who have remnants of Neanderthal in their genes, and as much as 3.4% of the genetic code in people of Asian, Native American, and European descent can be traced back to Neanderthals.
Neanderthals Transmitted Dangerous Genes That Affect Human Genitalia
If you know that you have any Neanderthal genes in your DNA, you might want to hold off on telling anybody. As it turns out, Neanderthal's passed on certain genes that can cause ulcers to generate on human genitalia. People with the Neanderthal gene HLA-B*51 are more likely to develop Behcet's disease, a condition that has several terrifying side effects like ulcers on the mouths and genitalia, inflammation, and blindness. Behcet's isn't the only condition linked to Neanderthal DNA; Chrohn's disease, lupus, and diabetes are all ailments that are influenced by the remnants of ancient DNA.
Incest And Inbreeding Were A Normal Part Of Neanderthal Life
Neanderthals and modern humans differ in many ways, and one of the most severe differences is our perspective on relationships with close relatives. A female Neanderthal toe bone was discovered in a Siberian cave, and genetic analysis uncovered that the Neanderthal's parents were actually close relatives. It's likely that the parents were half-siblings, an aunt and her nephew, or vice versa. Scientists confirmed that the level of inbreeding in this particular specimen was unusually high for any species, suggesting that this was far from a fluke incident.
Neanderthals Mated With Humans For Thousands Of Years
Interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals was not an isolated occurrence. According to a wealth of DNA evidence, it appears that this interspecies love affair was ongoing since at least 100,000 years ago. The two species mingled and mixed for an estimated 60,000 years, producing fertile offspring who's genetic lineage continues to this day. It is believed that thousands of these couplings happened over the course of this timeline. This revelation actually revolutionized our knowledge of our own history and made it clear that homo sapiens must have left Africa earlier than we thought. Since Neanderthals never lived in Africa, evidence of human/Neanderthal mixing proves that humans migrated to Eurasia at least 100,000 years ago.