180 million Neandertals

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Just got back proofs of a book chapter I have coming out soon with Zach Throckmorton. My favorite paragraph:

Nearly seven billion people inhabit our planet. At least six billion carry the genes of Neandertal ancestors. Inheritance from Neandertals makes up approximately 3% of the genomes of randomly chosen people outside sub-Saharan Africa today (Green et al., 2010; Reich et al., 2010). A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows if we took all of the Neandertal genes from todays human population, we would have enough raw material to make up 180 million Neandertals.

I love that because it makes the Neandertals into the evolutionary success story they really were. They succeeded by becoming part of us.

UPDATE (2013-04-18): You can tell from this excerpt how long edited book chapters can take to come out, as we’ve been more than seven billion for quite some time now! That’s one of the changes we’ll be making to the galleys.