Recent genetic, physical and archeological analyses indicate that Neanderthal and Denisovan talked very much like we do. It has been known for some time that our modern ancestors interbred with Neanderthal and Denisovan. It now seems that they could have verbally communicated with them. This tends to support the theory that Neanderthal and Denisovan went extinct not from competing with modern humans but by being absorbed into the modern human population. Per the article:
New research, published in the journal Frontiers in Language Sciences, presents strong evidence -- genetic, fossil, archaeological and more -- that modern speech and language existed among Neanderthals, Denisovans (a Paleolithic type of human), and early members of our own species.
This is fascinating! I would love to see the migratory patterns map with this new information. "half of the HLA alleles of modern Eurasians represent archaic HLA haplotypes, and have been inferred to be of Denisovan or Neanderthal origin. The apparent over-representation of these alleles suggests a positive selective pressure for their retention in the human population."
Are you going to have your genome code done?
If you are thinking about having your DNA analyzed I highly recommend that you have National Geographic do it. It did mine. NG provides an entire series of genetic markers on both your paternal and maternal side with a narrative for each explaining how and where it fits in to the migration path of your ancestors. On both sides the path begins about 70,000 years ago and progresses through relatively recent times. For each marker it provides a very informative map that becomes more precise with each marker. Males can have both their paternal and maternal ancestry analyzed from their own DNA but, because females don't have a male chromosome, they must have their paternal ancestry analyzed by having a father, brother, paternal uncle, paternal male cousin etc. contribute DNA. (A female just sends in the DNA of such a relative in place of what would have been her own paternal sample had she been a male.) In addition to the migration paths going back 70,000 years NG also provides the amount of your DNA that is Neanderthal and the amount that is Denisovan. Finally, it provides your mix (blend) of DNA from which many different types of DNA are considered. Most Europeans are a mix of Northern European, Mediterranean and Southwest Asian. The Southwest Asian exists because modern humans lived in Southwest Asia before going to Europe. The Mediterranean exists because all Europeans had to live in Southern Europe during the ice age. The Northern European exists, of course, because some European populations lived in Northern Europe for extended periods of time. The average German is 17% Southwest Asian, 36% Mediterranean and 47% Northern European. The cost of the entire package is only $200 and all of it is available on an anonymous basis.
Thanks for the information and site. Did you find anything that surprised you?
I have one male cousin from my father's brother, so that should qualify. Several years ago I followed my ancestry through Ancestry.com and thought I found a black family in our line, but alas, it turned out not to be so. I am such a mixture already and hoped to have recent black ancestry. I did discover that I am a direct descendent of one of Brigham Young's wives ... YUK! My grandfather is sanctified into the Mormon system and if he were alive he would shoot whoever did that to him. I hoped to find noble and honorable people, and I did uncover bank robbers and horse thieves and a slave boat captain. Oh well, I seem to come from sturdy stock, survivors of plagues and conquests.
This is great! Thanks.
A few things surprised me. One is I didn't know I had so much archaic human in me. National Geographic said I was 2.9% Neanderthal and 3% Denisovan. A second is that my paternal ancestors went almost directly to Europe (the Balkans) after leaving Southwest Asia. They went right through Turkey to get there. The third is that my maternal ancestors went up to the Baltic Sea before coming back down and going into Italy. (I am half Italian.) I know the results are valid because I had my DNA analyzed once before by NG (both times anonymously) and, on a marker per marker basis, the results were totally consistent with each other. Moreover, as I said I am half Italian and NG without knowing this said my DNA was 49% Mediterranean. When NG determines your DNA mix it considers a very wide variety of DNA types that might be in it. Among many others it checks for both Native and African American DNA. If you have any of these in your mix NG will tell you even if the amount is as little as 1%. In terms of ancestry it doesn't matter what a person's DNA story is because it really doesn't change who the person is. I had mine checked for the fun of it and, to be honest, if someone is thinking about doing it for any other reason I would recommend that he or she not proceed. In terms of ancestry the only thing a person's DNA story is good for is to joke about.
I recently watched a documentary on the supposed interactions Neanderthal and early man which suggested that we may have actually acquired language skills from the Neanderthals. (Sorry I can’t reference the video other than to say I believe it was on the Discovery channel) According to that documentary, It seems Neanderthal man most likely hunted in groups with short range thrusting spears which would make verbal communication a plus while early humans probably hunted solitarily or in small groups with a longer ranged throwing spears where silence and stealth would be more beneficial. So it is plausible that we were the non-verbal ones until we either learned verbal language from them or acquired the skill through interbreeding.