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DNA Tests on Neanderthal Man


DNA tests are commonly used in modern forensic crime, but they are also used by historians trying to unlock the secrets lost over tens of thousands of years. And  these tests unearthed clues last year on the secrets of Neanderthal man. It has been considered impossible to map the entire genetic make-up of extinct species – and it sounds like a storyline in Jurassic Park – but DNA tests on shreds of DNA found in a Neanderthal bone could help recreate the entire genetic make-up of that extinct human species.

Contribution to the Meaning of Life

But DNA tests have helped make major contributions to understanding the Neanderthals. And unlocking the mysteries of this human species takes scientists a step closer to understanding the evolution of the human race. DNA can help explain eye colour, body shape, the big noses Neanderthals featured and brain and speech capacity. Of course obtaining DNA from Neanderthals is incredibly difficult, and only tiny scraps have been studied. Butthese tests have so far revealed that the Neanderthal and modern man have around 99.5 to 99.9 per cent identical genomes.

DNA Tests on 38,000-Year-Old Neanderthal Bones

Neanderthal man became extinct 30,000 years ago, but scientists say they could have somehow contributed to the human gene pool. The most recent tests on Neanderthal bones were carried out on fragments of male bone said to be 38,000 years old. The bone was discovered in Croatia – there are just 70 known specimens in the world.

The Miracles of Modern Science

DNA tests on such ancient bones demonstrate how miraculous modern science can be – one of the professors in the team of scientists studying Neanderthal DNA dubbed the research as a “DNA time machine”. Although the team however put to rest any Jurassic Park inspired thoughts – “We are never going to bring Neanderthals back to life,” the Professor said. Such a thing would not be possible on a modern human being let alone on the deteriorated DNA of a 38,000 year-old Neanderthal man.

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