Sex With Neanderthals Boosted Human Immunity

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

So that’s how they justified it … Matt McGrath reports for BBC News:

Sexual relations between ancient humans and their evolutionary cousins are critical for our modern immune systems, researchers report in Science journal.

Mating with Neanderthals and another ancient group called Denisovans introduced genes that help us cope with viruses to this day, they conclude.

Previous research had indicated that prehistoric interbreeding led to up to 4% of the modern human genome.

The new work identifies stretches of DNA derived from our distant relatives.

In the human immune system, the HLA (human leucocyte antigen) family of genes plays an important role in defending against foreign invaders such as viruses.

The authors say that the origins of some HLA class 1 genes are proof that our ancient relatives interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans for a period.

At least one variety of HLA gene occurs frequently in present day populations from West Asia, but is rare in Africans.

The researchers say that is because after ancient humans left Africa some 65,000 years ago, they started breeding with their more primitive relations in Europe, while those who stayed in Africa did not…

[continues at BBC News]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

25 Comments on "Sex With Neanderthals Boosted Human Immunity"

  1. Anonymous | Aug 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    How could anyone say no to that handsome devil? 

  2. Broken_Finger | Aug 26, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    How could anyone say no to that handsome devil? 

    • OdinMcHaggis | Aug 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

      . I think it’s a female…How did they trim their beards, she is working the Bernank beard. Might be Ben’s mother.

      • Broken_Finger | Aug 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm |

        Yeah, and how do they know that Neanderthal was named Hermann Schaaffhausen?   

    • DeepCough | Aug 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

      What he lacked in appearance, I’m sure he more than compensated for in penis.

  3. Anonymous | Aug 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    Well, yeah.  If you can suppress your gag reflexes long enough to get within a yard of that BO, you’re either gonna have super-human bio-resistance or you’re gonna fade away before you’ve had a chance to pass on your genes.

    But seriously, any genetic event, be it random mutation or cross-breeding, will have potentially positive effects.  Unfortunately for white-breads like me, as I learned last weekend, superior resistance to photodermatitis is not confered upon a bloodline by millenia of living on the dank edges of northwestern Europe.

  4. Liam_McGonagle | Aug 26, 2011 at 11:17 am |

    Well, yeah.  If you can suppress your gag reflexes long enough to get within a yard of that BO, you’re either gonna have super-human bio-resistance or you’re gonna fade away before you’ve had a chance to pass on your genes.

    But seriously, any genetic event, be it random mutation or cross-breeding, will have potentially positive effects.  Unfortunately for white-breads like me, as I learned last weekend, superior resistance to photodermatitis is not confered upon a bloodline by millenia of living on the dank edges of northwestern Europe.

    • Thats where interbreeding with native population comes in handy. Well, it’s a bit late for you.

      Excuse me while I demand a job at the Casino.

  5. Anonymous | Aug 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm |

    Thats where interbreeding with native population comes in handy. Well, it’s a bit late for you.

    Excuse me while I demand a job at the Casino.

  6. Wayneewald | Aug 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    @font-face {
    font-family: “Calibri”;
    }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; font-family: Calibri; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }

    @font-face {
    font-family: “Calibri”;
    }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; font-family: Calibri; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }

    This is very
    odd and ironic in a way because of what I just recently learned.  Their were two major confrontations between
    humans and Neanderthals: one about 40,000 years ago when there was inbreeding
    and one about 12,000 years ago (or was it 8) where there wasn’t any inbreeding.  The second confrontation led to the extermination
    the Neanderthals.  There is some
    disagreement as to whether the humans just took over the Neanderthal territory
    or were actively aggressive in killing them off.  Probably both, but it does seem that humans
    by that time has superior weapons, which is the ironic part.  When both branches of development were on
    equal footing, they intermingled whereas when humans had superior weapons they
    didn’t.  I also wonder if in the second
    confrontation, the humans benefited from the immunization from local diseases that
    had received from interbreeding in the first confrontation, 40,000 years ago.

     

  7. Wayneewald | Aug 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    @font-face {
    font-family: “Calibri”;
    }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; font-family: Calibri; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }

    @font-face {
    font-family: “Calibri”;
    }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; font-family: Calibri; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; }

    This is very
    odd and ironic in a way because of what I just recently learned.  Their were two major confrontations between
    humans and Neanderthals: one about 40,000 years ago when there was inbreeding
    and one about 12,000 years ago (or was it 8) where there wasn’t any inbreeding.  The second confrontation led to the extermination
    the Neanderthals.  There is some
    disagreement as to whether the humans just took over the Neanderthal territory
    or were actively aggressive in killing them off.  Probably both, but it does seem that humans
    by that time has superior weapons, which is the ironic part.  When both branches of development were on
    equal footing, they intermingled whereas when humans had superior weapons they
    didn’t.  I also wonder if in the second
    confrontation, the humans benefited from the immunization from local diseases that
    had received from interbreeding in the first confrontation, 40,000 years ago.

     

  8. Anonymous | Aug 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    . I think it’s a female…How did they trim their beards, she is working the Bernank beard. Might be Ben’s mother.

  9. DeepCough | Aug 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm |

    What he lacked in appearance, I’m sure he more than compensated for in penis.

  10. Anonymous | Aug 26, 2011 at 8:24 pm |

    Yeah, and how do they know that Neanderthal was named Hermann Schaaffhausen?   

  11. This ought to improve my odds next time a woman calls me a Neanderthal.

  12. This ought to improve my odds next time a woman calls me a Neanderthal.

  13. Who knew!!! Shag hairy people makes your lineage feel better!!!!

  14. Who knew!!! Shag hairy people makes your lineage feel better!!!!

  15. Back then sluts were so easy even cave men go to do them…

  16. Back then sluts were so easy even cave men go to do them…

  17. lol…I have to salute the guys all those millenia ago who ‘took one for the team’. Ugh…at least we have the comforting knowledge that ‘coyote’ moments the day after have been going on a lot longer than we initially thought! 

  18. lol…I have to salute the guys all those millenia ago who ‘took one for the team’. Ugh…at least we have the comforting knowledge that ‘coyote’ moments the day after have been going on a lot longer than we initially thought! 

    • Liam_McGonagle | Aug 29, 2011 at 11:52 am |

      Say, that’s a good point.  This seems to indicate that mankind has been using and abusing all sorts of mind-altering drugs for a lot longer than we think . . . .

  19. lol…I have to salute the guys all those millenia ago who ‘took one for the team’. Ugh…at least we have the comforting knowledge that ‘coyote’ moments the day after have been going on a lot longer than we initially thought! 

  20. Anonymous | Aug 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm |

    Say, that’s a good point.  This seems to indicate that mankind has been using and abusing all sorts of mind-altering drugs for a lot longer than we think . . . .

Comments are closed.