According to Stephen Hall, the extent of the land occupied by Neanderthals during their time was as far as far as “south along the Mediterranean from the Strait of Gibraltar to Greece and Iraq, north to Russia, as far west as Britain, and almost to Mongolia in the east”…
Therefore the original geographic range of the Neanderthals extended to northeastern Europe.
They most probably have gotten this information on geographic range and population through fossils excavated in specific areas that qualified as a part of the past geographic area for Neanderthals, or perhaps any new site. Mitrochondrial DNA must have been extracted from the fossils and if the results match the ones previously found from Neanderthals, then such a case is documented. In order to determine the population estimate, the size of the geographic area as well as the possible number of inhabitants or communities might be taken into consideration.
2. What does the genetic evidence reveal about the relationship between modern humans and Neanderthals? Discuss the significance of this evidence (use at least two examples)? Do you think modern humans and Neanderthals interbreed? Why or why not?
Geneticist Svante Paabo disagreed that there was interbreeding between Neanderthals and humans. Using a 40,000-year-old arm bone from the original Neanderthal man, Paabo and his colleagues found “a tiny 378-letter snippet of mitochondrial DNA (a kind of short genetic appendix to the main text in each cell” (Hall), which revealed DNA that was totally different from those found in humans. Moreover, the fact that “it was too rare to leave a trace of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA in the cells of living people” (Hall) further strengthens Paabo’s claims.
Another significant genetic evidence concerning Neanderthals was the discovery of the Neanderthal pigmentation gene MC1R in October 2007. This indicated that “at least some Neanderthals would have had red hair, pale skin, and, possibly, freckles” (Hall).
On the possibility of interbreeding, I rather agree with the views of Svante Paabo that it might have been impossible. Otherwise, there would have been hybrids of humans and Neanderthals which might look distinct from its ...
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