Researchers Shed Light on Neanderthals’ Legacy in Humans

Do you like to sleep in until mid-morning? Blame your Neanderthal ancestors! Some human traits that are linked to sunlight – including mood and sleep patterns – may be influenced by a person’s Neanderthal forefathers, according to a study published Thursday.

Researchers examined the genome of more than 100,000 Britons who inherited DNA from Neanderthal ancestors and found they reported higher rates of listlessness, loneliness, staying up late and smoking.

The study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, also confirmed that some Neanderthal DNA found in people of non-African descent affects their skin and hair color, though not in any single direction.

You can read the full story in an Associated Press article by Frank Jordans at: http://bit.ly/2fXY79g.

My thanks to newsletter reader Samuel Bishop for telling me about this story.

9 Comments

So that’s the reason why I can’t sleep if I go to bed early – and my doctor told me it was because I wasn’t doing enough.
I’ll have to tell him when I see him next week!!

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I have 2% Neanderthal DNA, but I go to bed early and rise early so doesn’t hold true for me! I also have 2% Denisovan. This stuff is fascinating!

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David Paul Davenport October 7, 2017 at 12:47 pm

I’m not 100% Neanderthal, so only some of these traits apply to me. Hate mornings, most productive as a researcher from 2-5 pm, and 7 to midnight, suffer from “winter blues,” but have never smoked. I consider myself lucky. Know too many people who do smoke and concerned they will exit this life before me despite being younger than me.

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Can’t relate as I can sleep any time. I strongly suspect Viking
Genes give me my temper.😊. Is there really such a thing as a “warrior” gene?🤠

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My DNA tested for a smidgen over 3% Neanderthal. And sometimes I could sleep till mid morning, in winter time. They said mine was above the norm. Don’t know if that’s an insult or not. At any rate I had no control over my ancestry. Must live with it. Never smoked tho. Have no desire to. It’s an interesting theory at any rate.

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    Kathlynn [Simpson] Arledge-Johnson November 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t understand why my Autosomal does not even have a Neanderthal category…It shows my origin: European 95 [British Isles 84%, East Europe <1%, Scandinavia 11%]; West middle Eastern 4% <1% Asia Minor. — And -0- for all others, namely: New World, Central/South Asian, East Asian, Jewish Diasporo. Can anyone explain why Neanderthal is NOT listed?

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Kathlynn [Simpson] Arledge-Johnson November 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Hi Mr Eastman can you tell me if there is a specific DNA link/pattern that makes a person have severe adverse side effects to ALL Doctor prescribed medications that they have ever taken throughout their entire life time?

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    The quick answer is: “I don’t know.” I am not a medical expert. In fact, I am also curious about that. I have had some bad reactions to prescribed medicines, although not to everything.

    I am hoping someone else can jump in here with a reply and answer your question.

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Kathlynn,
Sorry I can’t reply directly to your question about why your Autosomal test doesn’t have a Neanderthal category, because for some reason your question doesn’t have a REPLY button. So, I can only reply via the general thread. I’m not an expert so this is just a guess, but I think it’s because all non-African ethnicities have about the same Neanderthal DNA, so it wouldn’t be diagnostic in separating between various modern groups- Bristish Isles, Scandinavia, E. Europe, Middle East, etc. would all have about the same Neanderthal signature

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