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Solving the mystery of the Red Deer Cave people

New DNA evidence is revealing the genetic relationships of ancient groups from southern China, showing how they were connected to living people across the region.

Two reconstructed partial skulls side by side representing the Red Deer Cave people
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Fossil profile: Skhūl 1 and the mixing of populations

A child's skull from Mount Carmel gives an occasion to look at the history of ideas about population mixture.

Skhūl 1 calvaria with information
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Ancient genetic introgression between cave hyenas and spotted hyenas

Describing the results of genomic work by Michael Westbury and collaborators, including ancient hyena genomes from Eurasia and North America.

Spotted hyena on a dark background
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How much have baboons and geladas hybridized during their evolution?

Examining a paper that uses Alu insertions as a probe for ancient reticulation in the papionin tree of relationships.

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A mid-century observer wrote about hybridization and Neandertals

A quote from Loren Eiseley, one of the best known writers about anthropology and human origins.

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Should we be surprised if Neandertals, Denisovans, and modern humans didn’t form stable hybrid zones?

Anthropologists have come a long way toward recognizing the complexity of modern human origins and dispersal. Ten years ago, I was one of a relative few who still maintained that mixture with Neandertals was important to our evolution. Over the last six years, the scale of Neandertal genetic introgression has

A Neandertal artist's reconstruction at the Neanderthal Museum, wearing a suit and holding a stone tool.
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How much sex did it take for Neandertal DNA to enter modern populations?

Addressing a widespread misconception about what geneticists are really measuring when they look at population mixture.

A painting of the biblical figures Jacob and Esau
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What is the ‘braided stream’ analogy for human evolution?

A discussion of the way that reticulation has manifested across human evolution, with reference to an essay by Clive Finlayson.

Channels of water draining in sand showing a braided stream network