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Neanderthals

  1. Fossilized Neanderthal Poop Gives Clues to Early Diets

    You will remember to wash your hands before you eat anything?

    If you want to know what an animal was eating, check its droppings. Of course if you want to know what an animal ate tens of thousands of years ago it's a little harder. Poop doesn't really fossilize well, but a recent dig in Spain has uncovered Neanderthal coprolites (poop fossils!) which show their diet was different than we thought.

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  2. Neanderthals Weren’t Actually All That Stupid, Says Science

    Geico was right all along!

    What's the first thing you think to call someone who's acting completely uncivilized and stupid (Other than a "dick," of course)? Usually the go-to is "neanderthal," but that's actually pretty insulting -- both to the people you're trying to insult, and the neanderthals themselves, because they weren't as dumb and uncultured as we assume they were.

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  3. Awwwww Yeeaaah, Humans and Neanderthals Totally Hooked Up

    We're a little less highbrow here and a little more protruding brow.

    While we've all been mindlessly wasting our lives browsing the Internet, science has been busy answering the tough questions -- like, did Neanderthals and humans ever bang? It's been theorized for years that the two species interbred with one another at some point, and now a new method of genome analysis confirms it. So yes, they totally banged.

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  4. Are You the “Adventurous Human Woman” Science Needs to Give Birth to a Baby Neanderthal?

    Our Adorable Past

    OK, so science isn't to the point of genetically engineering a living, breathing Neanderthal baby quite yet. But Harvard geneticist George Church told German site Der Spiegel that they're getting there, and that when the time comes they'll need an "adventurous human woman" to be the surrogate.

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  5. Study: Human Immune System Boosted by Breeding With Neanderthals

    New research suggests that modern humans may have inherited some of our immune system genes by interbreeding with closely-related non-homo sapiens. That is to say, our ancestors got it on with Neanderthals and we've reaped the benefits. The research focused on human leucocyte antigen (HLA) genes that help the body identify and destroy viruses, as well as other foreign bodies. Through their work, the researchers believe they've found a link between certain HLA genes in humans and those found in prehistoric Neanderthals and another group known as Denisovans. According to their study, the distribution of the genes obtained through interbreeding is not consistent across all humans:  People of European descent got over 50% of one class of HLA variant genes from interbreeding, those of Asian descent have 80%, and people from Papua New Guinean have about 95%. In another example, HLA variants common in West Asia are rare in African people. Stanford University's Peter Parham, who led the study, believes that this discrepency paints a picture of early human migration.

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