A latest study from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany has revealed that, neanderthal DNA has great influence over behavior and look of modern humans.
While studying British DNA, scientists found that Neanderthal DNA affects a person’s skin and hair color, height, sleep patterns, mood, and even our smoking habits.
Today, close to 2% of the DNA in people of non-African descent comes from Neanderthals.
Scientists estimate that more than a few Homo sapiens ran into Neanderthals tens of thousands of years ago in Eurasia.
They liked each other well enough to mate, and now Neanderthal DNA is thought to make up between 1 and 3 percent of the genetic code of most people who aren’t indigenous Africans.
The team believes the genes from our now extinct cousins may have helped humans to survive and adapt to the European continent.
While previous studies have shown that Neanderthal DNA influences our vulnerability to certain disease, this study is the first to show how these genes affect traits that change our look and behavior.
Just like modern human beings, Neanderthals also had light and dark hair and skin, the study found.
For the study, researchers examined data representing more than 112,000 participants in the UK Biobank pilot.
This includes genetic data and information on traits like physical appearance, diet, exposure to sunlight, behavior and disease, the report revealed.