Could a human and a Neanderthal fall in love?
Human, spying a Neanderthal with a thick, spherical skull, protruding brow, and a very small forehead: Hmmmm, not bad. Not bad at all.
Neanderthal: Hey, you may be scrawny but you're still sexy.
Science shows us that Neanderthals and humans had interspecies sex, about 40,000 years ago. But did they also fall in love? Brian Resnick investigates for Vox.
We often think that Neanderthals are the ancestors of humans, as in, we evolved from them. But they're not. They are our closest extinct human relatives, and we evolved on a different branch of the hominid tree, with thousands of years of inter-mating. In fact, almost every human today who is not Africa-based has around 1-4 % Neanderthal genes. That's because Neanderthals didn't live in Africa, they migrated to Europe.
"Evolution is a messy business. Species split at a certain point. But then, for thousands of years on, each lineage's decedents can be swapping spit and influencing the other’s gene pool. The branches of the tree of life split and then braid again together, before splitting apart again." That's what happened with us, and the Neanderthals.
Read Resnick's article to find out if there was love along with that "spit-swapping".