Neandertals were an ancient people whose remains have been discovered in European caves and a few other places. Evolutionists once ardently taught that Neandertals were links in human evolution. However, they never had any transitional features, only fully human ones. Now a new study adds more evidence for their status as humans by showing that Neandertals and modern people not only coexisted, but interbred.
When Neandertals' "missing link" classification was revoked, some evolutionists interpreted them as having evolved from an ape-like ancestor on a separate evolutionary path from modern people. Many artistic renderings of Neandertals tend to portray them with distinctly simian features. For instance, a LiveScience article regarding the recent study features a Neandertal image with large, ape-like lips.1 But were these large lips inspired by scientific evidence or evolutionary assumption?
While the red hair shown in the image does have a basis in Neandertal DNA sequence, the shape of the lips is speculative. In fact, based on how entirely human-like Neandertal bones and DNA are known to be, normal human lips would almost certainly have been a more accurate portrayal.
The 2010 Neandertal genome sequence should have erased all traces of ape-likeness from Neandertal conceptions. Many of the DNA differences between that genome and modern man's consensus genome were likely due to the Neandertal DNA having undergone base substitution "mutations" after burial. But the sequences certainly had enough integrity to confirm that Neandertal DNA was fully human.2
The latest study, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, reconfirmed that Neandertals were fully human. The investigators compared a uniquely coded segment that they found on many X chromosomes common to non-African modern people to the recently published Neandertal X chromosome sequence. They found that Neandertals had the segment, too. The study authors wrote that Neandertals and modern humans experienced "very early admixture."3
Thousands of years ago, the apostle Paul wrote that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation."4 Neandertal and modern humans came from "one blood," ultimately from Adam.
There is no hint of evolutionary relationships among Neandertal and modern humans, but there is every indication—both from science and the Bible—that early peoples of all kinds had familiar biological and social relationships.
- Pappas, S. DNA Evidence: Neanderthals Had Sex With Humans. LiveScience. Posted on livescience.com July 22, 2011, accessed July 29, 2011.
- Thomas, B. Neandertal Genome Confirms Creation Science Predictions. ICR News. Posted on icr.org May 28, 2010, reporting research in Green, R. E. et al. 2010. A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. Science. 328 (5979): 710-722.
- Yotova, Y. et al. 2011. An X-Linked Haplotype of Neandertal Origin Is Present Among All Non-African Populations. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 28 (7): 1957-1962.
- Acts 17:26.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on August 9, 2011.