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Did Sex With Neanderthals and Denisovans Shape Our
Immune Systems? The Jury's Still Out

by Ed Yong
August 25, 2011

The Neanderthals may be extinct, but they live on inside
us. Last year, two landmark studies from Svante Paabo
and David Reich showed that everyone outside of Africa
can trace 1-4 percent of their genomes to Neanderthal
ancestors. On top of that, people from the Pacific
Islands of Melanesia owe 5-7 percent of their genomes to
another group of extinct humans - the Denisovans, known
only from a finger bone and a tooth. These ancient
groups stand among our ancestors, their legacy embedded
in our DNA.

Paabo and Reich's studies clearly showed that early

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