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The assortment of 11 pearly whites found in a Jersey cave has a mix of Neanderthal and human characteristics, suggesting that the two species crossbreed

“The teeth of both individuals exhibit certain characteristics that are distinctively Neanderthal and others that are uniquely human anatomically modern”, said Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum.

Discoveries on a small granite ledge in the cave of La Cotte de St Brelade in 1910 and 1911, experts believe the teeth belonged to two individuals

New tooth analysis by British scientists suggests the pair may have been hybrid individuals with both Neanderthal and human genes

The large and long roots of pearly whites are typical of Neanderthals, but the upper parts like the crowns are similar to those of modern humans

“Modern humans straddled Neanderthals in parts of Europe after 45 000 years”, said Professor Stringer.

“The unusual characteristics of these individuals from La Cotte suggest that they may have had dual Neanderthal-modern human ancestry

“This idea of ​​a hybrid population could be tested by recovering ancient DNA from teeth, what is currently under study”

However, new research marks the first compelling evidence for the existence of Neanderthal and anatomically modern hybrids (AMH)

The research team, which includes experts from University College London and the University of Kent, performed three-dimensional x-rays of the bones.

In collaboration with Jersey Heritage, the images were made available on the free website, The Human Fossil Record

“Thanks to our collaboration anyone can examine these fossils virtually », said Professor Matt Skinner of the University of Kent

People can “download surface models and 3D print them if they want to have their own high resolution copies for teaching or just to put on their fireplace.

Scientists initially believed that La Cotte's teeth, found alongside hundreds of stone tools and even fossilized food debris, belonged to a single Neanderthal.

However, new scans suggest they belonged to two people who likely lived in a partly cave-based Neanderthal community

The group likely also included modern humans who mated with Neanderthals to produce children of mixed heritage.

It is believed that the colony lived in the cave and hunted reindeer, bison and woolly mammoths in the surrounding landscape

A series of nearby steep-walled mini-canyons would have provided the perfect location for ambush hunting, said the researchers.

“This work gives us a glimpse of an intriguing new population of Neanderthals and opens the door to a new phase of discovery at the site.”, said archaeologist Dr Matt Pope of University College London

Although the teeth of the cave were discovered over a century ago, other excavations on the site began in 2019

“We will now work with Jersey Heritage to recover new finds and fossils from La Cotte de St Brelade, undertake a new program analysis with our scientific colleagues and implement engineering to protect this very vulnerable site for the future” Adding Dr Pope

“It will be a gigantic project and one one to watch for those who are fascinated by our closest evolutionary relatives.”

Neanderthals are an extinct human species believed to have lived in a large area of ​​the planet, especially Great Britain, Spain, Siberia and Iraq.

With crushed skulls, a bulging nose and large, prominent eyebrows, thick hominids would have died about 40000 years.

We don't know what killed the Neanderthals, but scientists blame the arrival of modern humans from Africa for the premature extinction of the species.

Archaeologists had long assumed that the creatures were simply outstripped for food and other resources by their cousins ​​smarter humans.

However, recent research suggested that Neanderthals were brighter than we thought, able to paint elaborate rock art and make thread from plant material

It has become increasingly clear over the past decade that Neanderthals and humans crossed paths during the few thousand years that they shared Eurasia.

It is believed that between one and two percent of the genes in the DNA of Europeans were passed on to us by our cousins ​​with thicker eyebrows

In other news, remains of Neanderthal ancestry can be found in human genomes all over the world

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Neanderthal, human, archaic human mix with modern humans, human tooth, La Cotte de StBrelade, human evolution

News – GB – The secrets of «human and Neanderthal interbreeding» hidden in the caves of the Channel Islands
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