Fragments of the article:

DNA Analysis of... Neanderthal Bone...

by Michael D. O’Neill

Analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the... rib of a Neanderthal infant indicates that Neanderthals and modern humans probably did not interbreed, despite their presumed coexistence in the same general area for thousands of years.

The current analysis supports a 1997 finding, based on analysis of bone from a Neanderthal skeleton found 145 years ago, that Neanderthal mtDNA is significantly different from human mtDNA. The 1997 analysis had provided the first molecular evidence that Neanderthals and modern humans should be considered separate species.

Together, the two independent analyses of mtDNA from two different Neanderthals, from two different locations (see below), lend strong support to the "displacement" theory of Neanderthal/modern human interaction. This theory says the Neanderthals were displaced by modern humans without the Neanderthals contributing any genes to the modern human gene pool.

Alternative theories have suggested either that Neanderthals were the direct ancestors of modern humans, or that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred to create the current modern human gene pool. These theories are not supported by the current findings on the Neanderthal mtDNA sequence, which suggest that the Neanderthals contributed no mtDNA genes to the mtDNA gene pool of modern humans.

Neanderthals should be equally distant... from all the different population groups of modern humans (e.g., Africans, Mongoloids, and Caucasians). This prediction was borne out by calculations carried out using the results of the current study, the authors said.

The archeological records indicate that modern humans and Neanderthals may have coexisted in the same general area... at the end of the Neanderthal period. The question of whether and how Neanderthals and modern humans might have interacted during this period of overlap has been hotly debated for some time.

The first analysis of Neanderthal mtDNA sequence was reported in 1997 (Krings, M. et al., Cell 90: 19-30, July 11,1997). In this work, DNA was extracted from pulverized bone from the first-discovered Neanderthal skeleton, which was found in the Feldhofer Cave in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1856.

Sequence analysis of the mtDNA extracted from this skeleton revealed 27 nucleotide differences between the Feldhofer Neanderthal mtDNA sequence and a modern human reference mtDNA sequence (the Anderson sequence) in a 360-base-pair (bp) region of hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of the mtDNA genome. The average number of variations observed between mtDNA from different population groups of modern humans in this same region was approximately 8 nucleotides. [Note: In this first Neanderthal mtDNA study, the sequence of the HVR1 region of the Neanderthal mtDNA was inferred from the sequences of multiple small clones.]

This Feldhofer mtDNA sequence data strongly suggested that Neanderthals and modern humans were distinct species and that Neanderthals did not contribute genes to the mtDNA gene pool of modern humans. But, because this was the first-ever analysis of Neanderthal DNA, many believed that independent confirmation was necessary.


In a companion piece (Cell 90: 1-3, July 11, 1997) to this first report of Neanderthal mtDNA sequencing, Dr. Tomas Lindahl, of the Imperial Cancer Research (ICR) Fund, had said "It is now of great importance to attempt to verify the present results with a second Neanderthal bone from a different location."


This independent verification is precisely what has now been provided with the results published on the mtDNA sequence from a second Neanderthal.


The infant rib bone that served as the source of mtDNA for the current study was recovered by a Russian expedition from the Moscow Institute of Archeology and the Moskovskii Prospekt Institute (St. Petersburg) during excavation of the Mezmaiskaya Cave (a limestone cave) on a bank of the Sukhoy Kurdhips river in the northern Caucasus Mountains.


The Caucasus Mountains stretch for 900 miles between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and separate Europe and Asia in this region. The Caucasus region is believed to be one of the areas through which pre-modern and modern humans may have entered Europe from the Near East and Africa... The Mezmaiskaya Cave is located approximately 1,560 miles southeast of the Feldhofer Cave.


One sample from the Mezmaiskaya bone was brought to Dr. Goodwin’s lab in Scotland by Dr. Igor Ovchinnikov, of the Institute of Gerontology in Moscow, and it was Dr. Ovchinnikov who undertook the DNA extraction and amplification.


Another sample was sent to the lab of Dr. Anders Gotherstrom in the Archeological Research Laboratory of Stockholm University in Sweden, for independent analysis... it had come from one of the latest-living Neanderthals.


(T)he Glasgow group was able to determine a consensus sequence for 345 bp of the HVR1 region of mtDNA from the Mezmaiskaya bone sample. This sequence was determined from two overlapping PCR fragments with lengths of 232 bp and 256 bp. The 256-bp fragment represents that largest fragment of Neanderthal mtDNA ever generated in a PCR reaction, the authors noted.


Analysis of the consensus sequence indicated that the Mezmaiskaya mtDNA was significantly different from the modern human sequence, and more similar to the mtDNA sequence of the Feldhofer Neanderthal.


A total of 22 differences between the Mezmaiskaya and the modern human reference sequence (Anderson) were identified. A total of just 12 differences were seen between the mtDNA sequences of the two Neanderthal specimens. Both Neanderthal sequences showed substitutions at the same 19 positions relative to the modern human reference sequence, the authors noted.


This data strongly suggested that the Mezmaiskaya Neanderthal should be placed phylogenetically in a group distinct from modern humans. The data further suggested that the Feldhofer and Mezmaiskaya Neanderthals should be placed together in the same group.

The analysis also strongly suggested that Neanderthals did not contribute mtDNA genes to the human mtDNA gene pool and argued against the possibility that the two groups had interbred. As noted earlier, however, these results cannot exclude the possibility that Neanderthals contributed nuclear genes to the human gene pool.


The authors noted that analysis of the other Mezmaiskaya sample, carried out by the Archeology Research Laboratory in Sweden, had yielded results congruent with those obtained by the Glasgow laboratory.


The authors pointed out that preservation of a 256-bp mtDNA fragment in bone... (so) old, that has not been preserved in permafrost, and that contained sufficient DNA to enable direct DNA sequencing after amplification, is unprecedented. They suggest that this remarkable instance of DNA preservation may be attributed to specific features of the microenvironment in the Mezmaiskaya limestone cave.


The authors further suggest that their results imply that additional analyses of material from the Mezmaiskaya bone sample may permit elucidation of the entire mtDNA sequence of the Neanderthal mitochondrial genome.


The collaborating scientists authoring this report came from the Institute of Archeology, the Institute and Museum of Anthropology of Moscow State University, and the Institute of Gerontology, all located in Moscow, Russia; from the Human Identification Centre, at the University of Glasgow, in Glasgow, Scotland; and from the Archeological Research Laboratory of Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden.


Ovchinnikov, I.V. et al., Nature 404: 490-493 (March 30, 2000).


One allegory of the “Neanderthal cities”:

Limestones in the Caucasus Mountanis

An extra allegory of the Neanderthals: some Anasazi Colonies:

The Cliff Palace


Other skull of “Neanderthal”:

Tasters of the Word (YouTube), videos recientes: "Astronomía y Nacimiento de Jesucristo: Once de Septiembre Año Tres A.C.", "Estudio sobre Sanidades" (en 20 episodios), "Jesus Christ, Son or God?" and "We've the Power to Heal":

Tasters of the Word (the blog, with: "Astronomy and the Birth of Jesus Christ"):


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