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Homo Sapiens Freaked on EVERYBODY

Illustration for article titled Homo Sapiens Freaked on EVERYBODY
Image: AP

Humans have long been coming exclusively part of the Homo sapiens branch of evolution’s great tree—however, our ancestors did snack on some forbidden fruit. People from Britain to Columbia carry a genome that proves Homo sapiens also mated with Homo neanderthalensis, a close relative. And it turns out we still weren’t done humping everybody.

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The Washington Post reports that a team of scientists, with head researcher biostatistician Sharon R. Browning of the University of Washington, have released a study on “archaic DNA.” They searched the genomes of humans from Europe, Asia, and Oceania to test the theory that humans have freaked on their close cousins since the beginning of of our existence. We did!

A little known, human-like primate called the Denisovans, more similar to Neanderthals, have also left their stamp on the human genome. Denisovans and Neanderthals were known to have likely mixed together, perhaps contributing to their extinction—but this research indicates we absorbed quite a bit of them, too, if you know what I mean.

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An older study on Denisovan remains indicated some cross-breeding took place in the ancient caves of Siberia’s Altai Mountains, but this new study established that it didn’t end there. Humans who crossed South Asia found a whole separate group of Denisovans to fornicate with. Since we’ve spread out so much since this early orgy, there are hints of Denisovans in the DNA of humans all over the world:

All groups studied, from British and Bengali people to Peruvians and Puerto Ricans, had a dense cluster that closely matched the Altai Neanderthals. Some populations also had a cluster that matched the Altai Denisovans, which was particularly pronounced in East Asians.

The surprise was a third cluster — not like the Neanderthal DNA and only partially resembling the Altai Denisovans. This, the authors concluded, was a second and separate pulse of Denisovan genes into the DNA blender.

Blend me up, baby! Free love in the caves. Not really sure what practical purpose this information provides to modern man, but it’s a fun thread in the tapestry of evolution. A tapestry of fucking.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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DISCUSSION

emms626
starrylight

So on the topic of mating with relatives...I have a very attractive guy on my FB who I did not grow up with (we met once or twice max growing up) and who has always been referred to as my “cousin.” (Mind you,everyone on that side of the family is called “cousin”.) We were messaging a couple weeks ago and I was slightly tipsy and made a comment to the effect of “Are we actually cousins” because I wasn’t sure, and we talked more and he explained that we aren’t actually blood relatives (apparently his uncle was taken in by my grandfather’s mother and they were raised as cousins). We ended up FaceTiming for awhile and he’s going to be in my city during the summer and we want to meet up but we’re both like, kinda unsure about it. A few of my aunts on FB totally talk to/about him like he’s my cousin, and I just KNOW my family on that side will be weird about it. Have I just lost my mind via after online dating for the last two years, to the point that I’m trolling FB for relatives? (I’m not actually doing that.) If we did meet and click, would we need to DNA test that shit or something, just to be 100% sure since our family tree is sketchy AF?