back to article Dear humans, We thought it was time we looked through YOUR source code. We found a mystery ancestor. Signed, the computers

The human genome is hiding secrets that point to a mystery ancestor alongside our hominid cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, according to AI software. Homo sapiens, the only surviving species in the homo genus, once bred with its extinct relatives Homo neanderthalensis and Homo denisova hundreds of thousands of years ago …

  1. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Are they sure Neanderthals are extinct? They should spend time looking at crowds in major cities.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      They should spend time looking at crowds in major cities.

      Perhaps you're onto something...

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Interesting link. That story could make for an interesting movie, though the "immortal man" movie has already been done with "The Man from Earth".

        1. Def Silver badge
          Coat

          ...though the "immortal man" movie has already been done with "The Man from Earth".

          Which was excellent. Too bad they decided to follow it up with a rather mediocre sequel and the promise of a third to complete the set. :/

          And then someone will have the idea of making a set of prequel, The Child from Earth, Attack of the Neanderthals, and Revenge of the Romans, and then JJ Abrams will get involved, and we'll all be doomed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            IMHO the best portrayal of neanderthals in popular culture is to be found in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > Which was excellent.

            If you like watching paint dry, then yes it was excellent.

            Not my cup of tea though.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Coat

      Maybe examine management DNA?

      1. A.P. Veening

        Are you suggesting management isn't made up by artificial constructs without a soul (and without conscience)?

        1. Trixr Bronze badge

          I thought they were alien lizard men, which would explain the mystery third ancestor type.

          1. Cyrius1995
            Alien

            > which would explain the mystery third ancestor type.

            And the various theories about the British Royal family...

            1. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Also reportedly linked to Mad Cow ... or so I heard down the pub.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Projection much?

      There's a lot of evidence that Neanderthals were fairly peaceful compared to us Cro-magnons and it's quite likely _our_ savage nature overwhelmed _them_.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Projection much?

        Please do point to the evidence of 'peacefulness'. If you haven't noticed the commonly repeated pattern of peoples distant in time or place being endowed with idealised characteristics by the credulous, here's your notice. For instance, 'druids' were of course thoroughly peaceful. Or 'all' American Indians.

        But it is true that "population replacement" keeps occurring in Europe and presumably elsewhere. I read an article quite recently proposing that the ~90% replacement 5-6000 years ago was due to, in this order, pastoralists wandered into Northern Europe and brought a smattering of new diseases, vast plagues of one sort or another devastate the resident population, then a new crew replaces them from the east and southeast. Happenstance.

        No violence planned or unplanned required. Simply new conditions, increased contact. And this is the third mass replacement they've found so far in Northern Europe. No one here has been here forever. Everything changes.

      2. jonfr

        Re: Projection much?

        Based on genetic research into this it seems that all that humans got from Neanderthals was wast amount of problems and flaws. Those issues might suggests a wider problem (not yet discovered?) and might be the reason for their extinction. The human race got few good genetics from this mixing. I am not sure if it is something that would have happened on its own with time and evolution.

        Science article, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129134956.htm (2014)

        News article, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-studies-show-neanderthals-gave-us-some-good-genes-and-nasty-diseases-180960870/ (2016)

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Projection much?

          You are being inconsistent. We definitely got flaws from them but we only maybe got good genes from them.

          Selective much?

          1. jonfr

            Re: Projection much?

            Science doesn't care about your feelings. The data strongly suggest that we got more flaws than benefits with inter-species mixing with the Neanderthals. The human race already has plenty of leftovers from the evolution process on its own. I don't know about Denisovans ancestry because that isn't mentioned or hasn't been studied yet. I didn't find any data on it. Best I was able to find was this map (this website might be paywalled for you).

            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160328133514.htm

            1. Greywolf40

              Re: Projection much?

              Flaws, if any, would have been selected against. The reason so few Neanderthal genes appear in modern genomes is that, statistically, they either confer some advantage, or they have zero net effect, in which case genetic drift has conserved them.

        2. Terje

          Re: Projection much?

          You neglect to mention that many supposedly bad genes may serve or have served a decidedly positive point in surviving. Quite a number of bad or damaged genes found today can be shown to be granting resistance or immunity to various diseases or parasites.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

            Re: Projection much?

            Quite a number of bad or damaged genes found today can be shown to be granting resistance or immunity to various diseases or parasites.

            Textbook example - sickle cell anemia and malaria resistance.

          2. jonfr

            Re: Projection much?

            do you have data for that claim?

      3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Projection much?

        Alan Brown, "...overwhelmed..."

        With each generation, about one-quarter of your genetic code is lost forever. It's caused by the Maternal (or Paternal) Lineage Extinction Ratio MLER or PLER being about 25% per generation. This is the same 'force' that causes speciation (making species).

        End result, if your bring two populations together, they'll merge and one will be overwhelmed by the other.

        Same thing explains the Out of Africa observation of population 'necking'. No need for near-extinction events, the observed DNA 'necking' will be a moving attribute.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: Projection much?

          Isn't this supposed to mean that after four generations, there's no genetic code from the fourth grandparent left?

          Then what's the point behind this study/DNA lineage tests/... ?

          1. Greywolf40

            Re: Projection much?

            Actually, no. You inherit half your genes from each parent. So do your siblings, but becauseof genetic mixing, their halves are different from yours. Eg, you version of gene X came from your Dad and your brother's version came from your Mum. Same for the 1/8th of genes derived from your grandparents. So, no, there is no such thing as patrenal/maternal extinction. You have a different genetic mix from all other descendants of your great-great-grandparents, is all. The differenc depends also on whether or not your ancestors were cousins. In smaller settlements, most marriages were between 2nd and 3rd cousins. Even in larger settlements, social barriers reduced genetic mixing. Still does. And then there's spontaneous mutations. Since you're alive, those mutations weren't lethal, but it means some fo your genes do not derive from your more remote ancestors. And...

            "It's all rather coinfusing, really."

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Projection much?

            Isn't this supposed to mean that after four generations, there's no genetic code from the fourth grandparent left?

            No.

            If you lose 25% of parental DNA over 1 generation, that leaves 75%. You have 2 parents, so halve that to 37.5%

            Over 5 generations (4th grandparent)

            37.5% x 37.5% x 37.5% x 37.5% x 37.5% = 0.75%

            That might seem like a low number, but consider that you have 32 4th-grandparents.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Projection much?

              Unless DNA can be magically sourced from somewhere else, that must mean that you have 3.125% of each 4-th-grandparent's DNA. (I'm ingoring mutations, but those are just statistical noise at this level.)

              I'm not buying that you lose 25% of parental DNA each generation. It doesn't make sense. Seems like someone misinterpreted something that then got quoted and no one's asking for sources.

              1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Projection much?

                If you want more words of explanation, look up: 'The Inevitable Eve'.

                On average, couples have about two kids. Each kid has one-half of the DNA from each parent. Two kids, each with 50% of each parents' DNA, independently selected of course, = 75%. Thus about 25% of *your* (keyword: your) DNA will not make it to the next generation. YMMV, it's based on typically two kids.

                It's not "extinction", it's an extinction *RATIO* of about 25%. (Leave out words and yes you'll be confused.) MLER relates to mtDNA topic.

                It's really trivially obvious that if each of your kids has only 50%, then two would get you to 75%, etc. You'll never get 100%, but you might get close with a dozen.

                Taking into account gender, there's obviously a maternal and paternal lineage extinction ratio; no room for argument. Witness the antics of Henry VIII trying to overcome PLER and bad luck. The concept is trivially simple, but it and its implications have not yet been widely hoisted aboard.

                And yes, there are secondary and tertiary effects. This is merely the primary effect.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Projection much?

        Yeah, that explains today's statistics...dear lord you'd think we would miss what you did there leroy?

    4. Legionary13

      A clue?

      Is this a possible explanation for Brexit's continuing popularity?

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: A clue?

        You could be on to something...

        Romans Left Rome (Italy) and came here. Angles, Jutes & Saxons - left Germany (ish) and came here. Danes - left Denmark and came here. Normans - Left Denmark, went to Normandy, then left Normandy (France) and came here.

        Leaving is in our DNA!

        It's the one with the map & compass...

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: A clue?

          .... on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again....

        2. dervheid

          Re: A clue?

          "Leaving is in our DNA!"

          That would be 'Migrating' as that's what all of those people were doing.

        3. Mage Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: abandoned the African continent?

          Or migrated, just like people still do.

          No doubt some and some descendent went back, just like today.

          Abandoned sounds like a strange choice of word unless EVERYONE left.

        4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: A clue?

          Better still: "Migration is in our DNA"

          Unlike coconuts.

          Unless they could be carried by swallows, of course

          I'll get me coat

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: A clue?

        "...Brexit's continuing popularity?"

        Reportedly linked to Mad Cow. Look it up.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      "They should spend time looking at crowds in major cities."

      He's not a neanderthal.

      He's just well manscaped.

    6. WibbleMe

      Im a Briton and certainly a different species to the people in the Glamour mags on the supermarket shelves.

  2. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Joke

    Maybe it was...

    Lizard people....

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe it was...

      Almighty IntelAIgent Messaging .... with Heavenly Instruction for AIdDirections in Diabolical Ethereal Art Works.

      Not only in Quantum Communications is that Kith and Kin to the Virtualised Singularity where This is That and a COSMIC Gift to Grant Access to ..... Heavenly Assets.

      Immunised for Infection with Diabolical Works to Perform and Transform.

      Now as a Base is that but one Source Store while as an AINode, an Almighty Virtual Presence Presents Your Futures for Realisation/Birth and New Lives in Live Operational Virtual Environments.

      :-) Trump that and you earn it and learn it fair and square.

      You have Alien Quantum Communication, Mr President, from Universal Virtual Force Assets.

      It Offers Outstanding Stealth Purchase a Practically Sole Command and Control Option to Clients.

      Carpe Diem.

      1. ILLQO

        Re: Maybe it was...

        Immunised for Infection with Diabolical Works to Perform and Transform

        I know everything you say is random... but that is strangely beautiful.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe it was...

      "lizard peoiple" ... almost, as explained in Battlestar Galactica (the 2nd version) the 3rd source is clearly Cylon.

      1. Totally not a Cylon

        Re: Maybe it was...

        I blame the Asari.

        Those maidens will meld with anything, much worse than James T!

      2. AIBailey
        Coat

        Re: Maybe it was...

        If there were lizard people living amongst us, we'd have noticed by now as they'd leave clues.

        They'd live to a ripe old age, at least 97 years old.

        And they'd appear to be bulletproof, for example walking unscathed after a car accident, say rolling a Freelander..

        Hold on.....

        Mine's the one with David Icke's books in the pocket.

        1. itzman

          Re: Maybe it was...

          It was a Range Rover.

          Your thesis is destroyed.

          1. AIBailey

            Re: Maybe it was...

            From the BBC:

            "Prince Philip, 97, was unhurt in the crash on the A149, in which his Land Rover Freelander landed on its side after a collision with a Kia."

            Of course, itzman posting to spread inaccurate information is just what I'd expect of a servant of the lizard overlords.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Maybe it was...

              It's not the lizards this time... illuminati.

          2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

            Re: Maybe it was...

            It was a Range Rover.

            Land Rover, Range Rover, Rover plain, who cares?

            It's a squarish British (British any longer?) car! ;-P

            1. EBG

              any longer ...

              Indian. Tata motors. Makes Prince P driving one ..... errrm ... ironic ?

  3. Glen 1 Bronze badge

    Mystery Ancestor

    Latin name milkus mannus

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Mystery Ancestor

      I cam home from the pub & told my wife, that I'd heard our milkman had slept with every woman on his round except one.

      "That'll be the snotty bitch at number 20" she replied.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Mystery Ancestor

        Ah, the old ones are the best!

        The millennial version of that joke would likely replace milkman with Amazon delivery operative.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mystery Ancestor

          I heard a variant, in a European country, revolving around a divorce. In court:

          - Why do you want to divorce your wife?

          - Your honour, I'm not satisfied with my wife, you know, sexually.

          A murmur of voices from the public gallery:

          - Not satisfied, not satisfied... Everybody's satisfied and he's not satisfied...

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Mystery Ancestor

            Is that a direct translation?

      2. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Mystery Ancestor

        I have a simple answer to the perennial question "Did you sleep with the Milkman?"

        "Not a wink, my dear."

      3. Ken 16 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Mystery Ancestor

        There were a lot of sloppy efforts in the best baby competition this year. A lot of very hairy babies.

    2. IceC0ld Bronze badge

      Re: Mystery Ancestor

      I heard third ancestor, and thought a Ménage à trois

      but now find it isn't that interesting, wish I'd asked nana some proper questions when I had the chance now :o)

      mind you I HAVE been to Texas, and the size of some of them guys is proof positive that some were humping buffalo's :oP

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Mystery Ancestor

      Latin name milkus mannus

      Otherwise known as Pat Mustard.

      1. Locky Silver badge

        Re: Mystery Ancestor

        Is there anything to be said for another mass?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI

    All my life AI has stood for artificial insemination. To save keeping a bull the man from the Ministry (Ag. and Fish) would come round with his black bag of vials of bovine semen and do the deed. So the modern use of the letters AI has confused the computers and the missing link is obviously a man from some ministry of a long forgotten pastoral people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AI

      One of my earliest childhood memories growing up on a farm is of the AI man visiting with his very long syringe which he inserted into the cows. At that time I assumed women became pregnant in a similar manner. I guess I was half right... he bore a striking resemblance to one of the kids on a neighbouring farm.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: AI

        I had an aunt who told me she thought it was always done from behind and was then later much surprised.

    2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: AI

      OTOH ask any Scrabble addict about AI and they will tell you about the usefulness of sloths.

    3. Nier

      Re: AI

      Quite true. Here's a WW2 era poem for proof.

      "The lament of the artificially inseminated cow"

      I've just given birth to a calf, Sir

      And with motherly pride I am full

      But please do not laugh and pray do not chaff

      When I tell you I've not had a bull

      The farmyard's the dreariest place, Sir

      The meadow no longer so gay

      Since the one spot of fun in the year's dismal run

      Has by science been taken away

      No bull has embraced me with passion

      I've not had the ghost of a binge

      I've never been loved but ruthlessly shoved

      With a dirty great brass bound syringe

      You may say that's all very well, Sir

      There are some things a cow cannot say

      But those Land Army tarts who have done with our parts

      Still get it the old fashioned way

      I saw it written on a sheet of paper about 60 years ago. By Michael Barsley, I think.

  5. cd

    Stop calling me todya.

    1. Graham Dawson

      Surely you can't be serious.

    2. RichardB

      I was imagining some Russian grey beard professor talking to his young protege...

  6. jake Silver badge
    Pint

    ElReg:

    You realize you're trolling that corner of YouTube over to these here parts, right?

    Should be good for a giggle. Popcorn & beer in the usual place, enjoy all :-)

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: ElReg:

      That beer looks flat! oops..wrong forum.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nah, thats

    The Ancients that returned from Atlantis after they found out the hard way that the system they spend 10,000 years to get to was already

    inhabited by a hostile force and unprepared for military aciton they were both outnumbered and outgunned.

    They fought for millenia but were beaten.

    Faced with extinction they decided to return to their ancestral home and used the last of their Zed Pee Ems to land, putting aside their advanced

    knowledge until the time was right and reverting to a more primitive existence.

  8. dbtx Bronze badge

    "We know that

    s/know/believe/

  9. steelpillow Silver badge
    Holmes

    Many mysteries

    Missing from this report is the "third extinct ancestor" found earlier last year in native African DNA, together with hints that there might be several more around the world. So many seem to have been coming and going that modern theorists are tearing up the old evolutionary tree model and drawing spiderwebby graphs with all kinds of divergences and re-mergers elsewhere and stuff.

    Truth is, the multi-species conventional wisdom is looking more and more pants. None has gone wholly extinct, every one of them lives on in us - that's how we fucking found them, Sherlock! We are/were all assorted subspecies/races/breeds/varieties of the one Homo Sapiens (last epithet to be taken as found).

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Many mysteries

      But currently we're one race (i.e. we can completely interbreed and there are no reliable genetic clusters that really point to long term population isolation.)

      That's why it annoys the hell out of me when Americans refer to people like Meghan Markle as "mixed race". We're either pretty much all mixed race or none of us are.

      1. Long John Brass Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Many mysteries

        Hmmmm; While true, it also means that Neanderthal, Denisovians & H-Sapiens are the same "race" because they are able to interbreed. But we don't consider Dogs & Wolves to be the same "race" but they can interbreed too... No?

        I agree talking about humans in terms of race is stupid. We are all just walking bags of mostly water :)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Many mysteries

          "But we don't consider Dogs & Wolves to be the same "race""

          Yes, we do ... canus lupus and canus lupus familiaris are considered by most people to be the same species, just as all humans are considered the same species. The concept of "race" is an artificial construct designed to separate groups of humans into "us" and "them", usually for the purpose of conflict and/or exploitation. The sooner we drop the concept, the better.

          1. Dabbb Bronze badge

            Re: Many mysteries

            Are you claiming there's no distinctive differences between people evolved in different regions/climates of this planet? That's the races for you. You can of course ignore reality but don't be obset when reality ignores you in return.

            p.s. And true definition of racism does not include "power" either.

            1. Mooseman Bronze badge

              Re: Many mysteries

              "Are you claiming there's no distinctive differences between people evolved in different regions/climates of this planet?"

              Uh, yes. Have a look at a skeleton from Africa, Europe or America. Now look at at their blood. If you can spot any difference not due to diet please let me know.

              1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

                Re: Many mysteries

                There you go. A study in the UK, too. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5004623/

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Many mysteries

            No, The concept of race is just like a dog breed. Skin or fur colour, general shape, attitude, aptitude, rationality, aggression, strength...

            Is a dachshund better than a red setter?

            Depends on what you want it for,

            So it is with humans.

            1. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: Many mysteries

              "Depends on what you want it for,

              So it is with humans."

              That's a very dangerous way to look at it. There was a time when people acted on those beliefs, it fuelled the slave trade and the buying and selling of people for their "attributes". The simple fact is that regardless of "race" everyone is pretty much equally good at what they do. Look at any sport, and you'll find a good mix at any level, and in any sport. Same goes for any profession, intelligence does not know the colour of your skin. We don't breed humans for specific roles, and while skin tone can be attributed to where someone is from geographically, it doesn't stop them from being able to live anywhere on this planet. It's that belief that fuels racism, and it is inherently evil as it allows one to believe they are somehow superior when superiority does not exist and treat fellow humans as if they are animals. We are all human.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Many mysteries

          "But we don't consider Dogs & Wolves to be the same "race" but they can interbreed too... No?"

          The genetic variation of dogs and wolves is much greater than for humans.

          Also, you missed my point. I did specifically refer to population isolation. Neanderthals and Denisovans were genetically distinct populations even though they could interbreed. We can call them races if you like. But we're only about 2% Neanderthal, so that doesn't even start to apply. The current human race is much less genetically varied than the total of Sap. + Neanderthals + Denisovans.

          Which is why these things are so difficult to identify.

          One of the interesting things about racism is the way it focusses on skin colour but not hair colour.

          1. tim 13

            Re: Many mysteries

            One of the interesting things about racism is the way it focusses on skin colour but not hair colour.

            Except gingers

            1. wayne 8

              Re: Many mysteries

              Blue eyed blondes?

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Many mysteries

            "The genetic variation of dogs and wolves is much greater than for humans."

            Depends on which "wolf" you are discussing. c.l.f and c.l are at least as close genetically as humans are to each other.

        3. itzman

          Re: Many mysteries

          Actually we DO consider dogs and wolves to be the same *species*.

          But they are many different *breeds*.

          Race is a somewhat slippery concept. Somewhat akin to breeds. And anyone who says breeds aren't distinct subsets that share common characteristics is barking mad.

          WUFF!

        4. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Many mysteries

          I agree talking about humans in terms of race is stupid. We are all just walking bags of mostly water :)

          Agree up to the 'walking' bit.

          Not in my experience of mankind - not unless they can avoid it.

        5. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Many mysteries

          Not quite true, the definition of a species isn't just that it can interbreed, but interbreed successfully. The relatively sparse DNA from none HS species would suggest that while some DNA fragments are benign, others would render their offspring infertile if mixed with another species.

          Case in point, many big cat species are close enough that their offspring are viable and can interbreed. While clearly not of the same species, it could be said that they are sub-species of a wider cat family. Denisovans, Neanderthal, and Homo Sapiens are close enough to breed, but evidence would suggest that they are also distinct enough that most of the offspring would either be infertile or suffer from such horrific complications that their lives would be very short indeed. In which case it could be said that they are not close enough to be a sub-species of a wider Homo family and are therefore distinct species in their own right.

          It may also be that other hominin species may yet be found within HS DNA, such as Floresiensis amongst the Pacific islands (although all evidence so far would suggest not). Add to this that many localised peoples DNA has not been researched, for example I would be interested to see where the aborigines of Australia and the Maori of New Zealand fit into the genetic jigsaw of time, given their abundant history within their locales. My understanding of South Pacific genetics though would suggest that their ancestry would be Polynesian, with a mix of Neanderthal and Denisovan thrown in.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Many mysteries

            "Species" is one of those words that attempts to draw lines in continuous spectrums.

            Sharp lines in spectrums are inherently troublesome. Even the slightest zoom into the transitional or boundary cases leads to endless issues in the definition *of the boundaries*.

            We need to acknowledge this most general of points to minimize pointless arguments.

            A solution is: NEVER BIFURCATE A SPECTRUM.

            Always provide at least a third middle option.

            This is a highly-useful clarification of thinking. It should be taught in Elementary school. Yet hardly anyone is aware of it.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Many mysteries

        My father referred to Americans as being "Heinz 57".... basically a mix of everything in everyone. Yes, I'm one also as was he. He did a genealogy of the so called family tree and it looked more like a massive fur ball instead of the nice straight lines one sees elsewhere. I suspect that most of us are like that with links going all over the world.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Many mysteries

          True. I was always told that my dad's family emigrated from Scotland to Kentucky. Which they did. But my DNA test came out 40% Norwegian. Seems the Vikings got around as well. And there's a smidge of Middle Eastern, as Mum's Italian ancestors were traders from Smyrna, and apparently there were some locals mixed in.

          We are all immigrants, it's just how far back you need to look. And I'd argue that the blending of cultures makes us (USAians, but others as well) a richer nation.

      3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Many mysteries

        Have an up vote sir\madam for your right minded annoyance for those that keep going on about Meghan Markles & indeed any one else's genetic lineage, it's not something any of us have had a choice in.

        (Sorry about the icon).

      4. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Re: Many mysteries

        "But currently we're one race (i.e. we can completely interbreed and there are no reliable genetic clusters that really point to long term population isolation.)"

        You've completely mixed up races and species.

        Or rather not mixed up but deliberately used sociological definition of race which has absolutely nothing to do with ability to interbreed.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Many mysteries

          "You've completely mixed up races and species."

          You appear incapable of understanding the word "and".

          Both "species" and "race" look increasingly dubious as genetic understanding improves, but the usual understanding of "race" outside the US is a more or less isolated or homogeneous population within a species which has resulted in distinct genetic differences. Hence, Sapiens and Neanderthals, Polar bears and brown bears.

          Human beings have been mixing populations for a very long time. These days, so are bears.

          Still, at least I have another item for my "spot the racist" list.

          1. Dabbb Bronze badge

            Re: Many mysteries

            "Both "species" and "race" look increasingly dubious as genetic understanding improves, "

            Only for those with word studies in their degrees.

            "Still, at least I have another item for my "spot the racist" list."

            Good for you.

          2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

            Re: Many mysteries

            'Both "species" and "race" look increasingly dubious as genetic understanding improves'

            And to suit the particular agenda at hand. 'Species' in the animal kingdom has been pressed into service to distinguish between different populations of animals living in various habitats. Not that they might actually differ much genetically. But if a unique name can be found for a small population of mole rats living in one valley, endangered species and environmental regulations can be called into play. Even though that mole rat might have reached the level of an infestation in the next county.

            1. steelpillow Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Many mysteries

              Originally, "species" indicated a breeding group: by definition, two species could not interbreed. Within a given species there may be sub-species, genetically identifiable subgroups which can nevertheless interbreed with each other. Botanists tend to call them varieties, zoologists breeds, anthropologists races. Finer than that are genetically identical clones, which microbiologists call strains and horticulturalists cultivars.

              The remapping revolution caused by gene analysis has thrown a lot of traditional classifications out the window, but scientists still try to cling to them for the sake of familiarity and shoehorn incompatible discoveries in alongside. These days, if you ask six biologists whether two distinct species can ever interbreed, you will get at least seven different answers.

              1. Ozumo

                Re: Many mysteries

                You missed a bit. The "old" definition of species was used to describe the situation where two individuals could breed together and produce offspring which are themselves fertile. Hence why horses and donkeys are not considered conspecific. It all falls down of course when you learn that a very few female mules can be fertile, when mated to a purebred horse or donkey.

                The situation in the avian world is much more complex and controversial.

                1. steelpillow Silver badge

                  Re: Many mysteries

                  "It all falls down of course when you learn that a very few female mules can be fertile, when mated to a purebred horse or donkey."

                  Indeed. Does the same apply to genets (the male/female parental crossover of mules)? Now, a viable mule/genet cross, that would be something! Pretty much a return to a common ancestor currently believed to be extinct. Maybe one could cross a mule/donkey hybrid with a mule/horse hybrid?

                  "The situation in the avian world is much more complex and controversial."

                  There is a wonderful example in a certain population of seagulls. In Europe they appear as two separate species incapable of crossbreeding, and were long thought to be so. But as you go round the world one way, one of the species slowly mutates, and as you go round the other way, so does the other. When you get back to where you started, you find that there is one global population that interbreeds with its neighbours but, by the time it has spread round the world and met its other end, it can no longer interbreed. One species or more?

                  Speciation is not a binary on/off process. Classification into species was already in trouble before DNA analysis came along.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Many mysteries

                by definition, two species could not interbreed.

                Except that's not true either. Mules. Horse zebra crosses. Lion tiger crosses. All sorts of hybrids out there, and that's before you get to *insert least favourite politician/celeb*.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Many mysteries

                  "by definition, two species could not interbreed.

                  Except that's not true either. Mules. Horse zebra crosses. Lion tiger crosses. All sorts of hybrids out there, and that's before you get to *insert least favourite politician/celeb*."

                  Get with the discussion. He said: BY DEFINITION. And that is what we are talking about in this discussion.... that old DEFINITION of species that we all learned in college biology not 14 years ago

                  appears to be no longer correct if we accept that Neanderthals, Denisovians and Sapiens are all different species... as was previously posited by scientists. EITHER we are not separate species OR the definition of species is incorrect.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Many mysteries

                    " that old DEFINITION of species that we all learned in college biology not 14 years ago"

                    Some of us did college Biology a damn sight longer than 14 years ago, try 25 years ago.

                    The problem with the world is nobody ever seems to update their info, so they go around parroting ancient information they learnt at school, even though it has been long since proven to be completely false.

                    Knowledge, it's one thing to get some, but keeping it accurate and updated is nigh on impossible!!

                    1. CheesyTheClown

                      Re: Many mysteries

                      Oddly, while you and I generally don't get along all that well elsewhere, but I'm forced to agree with you here.

                      I am actively working on getting admitted to the masters program at the local university to contribute towards automating medical general practitioners out of a job if I can. There are many issues associated with illnesses, but stage of detection is generally the number one factor deciding whether an illness is treatable or not.

                      I make a comment often that the only dust you'll ever see in a doctor's office is the dust on the top of his/her books.

                      it's a matter of exponential growth more than exponential decay though.

                      As you get older and in theory gain knowledge and wisdom, the time required to maintain the health of that information grows. And if you constantly update your knowledge, your overall understanding of the field of interest will increase along side it.

                      Primary and secondary school provide an excellent opportunity to provide most people a glimpse of what's out there. In fact, I've been teaching adults for years different topics of engineering, science and math. What I've learned is that with rare exceptions, most every person I communicate with probably completed the education they'll draw from in life at the end of the 4th or 5th grade. This doesn't mean that they are stupid, it simply means that they've had no practical use for anything more advanced in their given careers. This is because most people simply don't need it.

                      High school allows people to see all the amazing jobs that are out there and available to them. I learned a great deal in high school before dropping out and starting at the university instead.

                      What's important and we see it all the time in modern society is that people smarter at a young age and it hurts them as they get older since the teachers don't teach the cost of information.

                      The XX and XY chromosome thing is a real problem. It wasn't long ago that we were told school kids that the mitochondria was the power source of the cell. When I was a kid, it was common knowledge that we had never successfully managed to "crack the shell" of the mitochondria and looked inside. Now science books are being updated to teach us that our genetic code resides within the mitochondrion DNA as well.

                      Cellular microbiology is a topic which all children learn at some level or another, but most people can't name a single part of the cell other than the nucleus and they constantly make announcements like "You're going bald because of your mother's father not me" as if balding were a single gene. By their education, they would make it so that boys receive 0% of their genetics from daddy.

                      We generally teach kids more than enough to make them dangerous. We don't place expiration dates on the information.

                      P.S. - nice use of nigh, it's one of those words I'm envious of when I see it but never seem to use when the opportunity presents itself.

        2. 10forcash Bronze badge

          Re: Many mysteries

          "But currently we're one race (i.e. we can completely interbreed and there are no reliable genetic clusters that really point to long term population isolation.)"

          Never been to Norfolk and seen the Norfolkers then?

          Not so much a gene pool, more of a small puddle....

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Many mysteries

            "Never been to Norfolk and seen the Norfolkers then?"

            Having heard this so many times I was interested in Leslie et al, 2015, the Nature paper on fine structure of Britain They produced a map in which lowland England came out as homogeneous. The distinct populations were in upland Britain. Norfolk was just part of the amorphous blob. Not distinct from the rest at all.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Many mysteries

      "Truth is, the multi-species conventional wisdom is looking more and more pants."

      Did anyone catch the 2018 Royal Institutional Christmas Lectures (only 3 - there used to be 5, everything goes downhill)? This year it was a two hander, the anatomist Alice Roberts and a geneticist guest lecturer, Aoife McLysaght. Roberts was presenting the usual Neanderthalis vs Sapiens when McLysaght interjected "it's all one species". It's the old splitters versus lumpers all over again.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, have I got this straight?

    Having not inter bred, the "Africans", in this context, are the purest of the species in the homo genus.

    Now that's gotta upset a few good ole boys!

    1. Dabbb Bronze badge

      Re: So, have I got this straight?

      Not sure inbred is better than interbred.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: So, have I got this straight?

        Inbred - in a pool of 1Bn plus? which one is the village idiot.

        1. James 51 Silver badge

          Re: So, have I got this straight?

          Various studies have shown that there is more genetic diversity in Africa than the rest of the world combined but it is better stirred in the rest of the world. Would post links but my phone browser doesn't like multiple tabs.

          1. Keith Langmead

            Re: So, have I got this straight?

            "Various studies have shown that there is more genetic diversity in Africa than the rest of the world combined but it is better stirred in the rest of the world."

            Yeah I remember seeing a program with Prof Alice Roberts a while back where she talked about the genetic family tree of humans. Within Africa is was a full tree but everyone leaving Africa came from a single branch. I think it was based on some of the first genetic analysis done on people all round the world, so they could see that looking at people outside of Africa they have a certain common ancestry, but when doing the same comparison for people across Africa the common ancestry was much further back in time. Of course this was quite a few years ago, so with more recent discoveries it may no longer be accurate.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: So, have I got this straight?

              "Of course this was quite a few years ago"

              The Incredible Human Journey? I don't think it was that long ago and it's being repeated on BBC 4. There was a more recent series called "Origins of us". All worth watching, up to the standards of Horizon of long ago instead of the usual Beeb science programme of 15 minutes padded out to 50mins or an hour.

        2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Alien

    Maybe there was a monolith invovled ...

    sure I saw a documentary about it ....

  12. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Out of Africa

    Hey man, have you heard about this place up North?

    No. What place is that?

    The Neander Valley. It's full of these really hot women. They've got the lot - red hair, brow ridges, really huge noses!

    Wow! Is it far?

    Not sure, but it's got to be worth a trip.

    Let's go!

  13. Tim99 Silver badge
    Alien

    Dah, Dah, Dah, Daahh

    They came from outer space.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Race

    "Surely if we all fucked each other the race problem would cease after a few generations?"

    Michael X as quoted in OZ 7 in October 1967

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Race

      We know that skin colour is controlled by genetics but we never ask ourselves why it's distributed in all its variations in the way that it is - it's a minor point really, we're all pink on the inside and happily copulate to generate new variations/generations ... 80,000 years is a lot of generations and our known historical record only goes back about 15,000.

      I think it's more likely that there aren't any mystery ancestors - the variations we see today are just the result of isolation - take a population and isolate it in chunks for a couple of hundred thousand years a time, and then rinse and repeat ... Do that for two or three million years and you've got modern genetics.

    2. wayne 8

      Re: Race

      Stop reproducing and all problems would cease.

  15. arctic_haze Silver badge
    Happy

    How do you call someone who hates other species?

    A specialist?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: How do you call someone who hates other species?

      Nah, they've beaten you to a word: speciesism.

      www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/animals/rights/speciesism.shtml (anybody noticed that there's something wrong with the URL tag after the design refresh?)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seen this plot before

    The missing ancestor is an ugly pangalactic shapeshifter.

    See this Star Trek episode

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Seen this plot before

      I'd rather have a Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: Seen this plot before

        Gotta keep an eye on your girdlesprings and the side-warbling that they cause when installed too close to the gargleblaster.

  17. FrankAlphaXII
    Alien

    See Icon Description

    It was the exaterrestrials. We'll call 'em Lemurians, unless that's copyrighted by the Theosophical Society or the OTO. If that's the case we'll call them the Star Fairy Tribe.

    I'll write a detailed description of why with tons of pseudoscience and occult crap for the low, low price of 39.95, paid monthly.

  18. K Cartlidge
    Alien

    Tanu or Firvulag?

    Or corporeal Lylmiks?

  19. SNAFUology
    Holmes

    Convergence

    Most exciting news for a long while. it will be interesting to see if it can be confirmed in with much hard evidence.

    I'm not such a great of fan of the recent Genetics trumps Archaeology view - both are tools & methods of science observation and must be taken together.

  20. Sanguma

    common knowledge innit?

    Isn't it common knowledge that Donald Trump (and other politicians) is descended from both Piltdown Man (Eoanthropus dawsoni ) and Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus haroldcookii)? Or did he in fact derive from the Sumatran Rat Monkey? Inquiring minds wants to know.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: common knowledge innit?

      Sumatran?

      Kumquat Rat Monkey more like.

  21. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    I'm not saying it Hobbits,...

    ... but it's Hobbits.

    Mine's the one with the ring in the pocket.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: I'm not saying it Hobbits,...

      ... but it's Hobbits.

      Personally, I think'ses it's ring-twisted river people.

      ....because they'ses precious.....

      ...and explains a lot about the human psyche.

      ...and male pattern baldness.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who cares about the details ?

    If it's a chance to see more of Prof. Alice Roberts on TV :) ?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obviously it came from Outer Space. Chariots of the Gods, anyone?

    Might explain how / why the human brain has doubled in size in the last couple of hundred thousand years (which is why human childbirth is *soooo* difficult). And that's with skull bones overlapping, no myelin sheaths around neurons at birth (to make the volume smaller - all done in first year of life), and the gigantic difference between human intelligence and that of the Great Apes despite nearly all of our DNA being common.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019