Analysis of a 40,000 year old jawbone found in Romania revealed that it was of a modern human that had up to 11% Neanderthal DNA which had come from a Neanderthal ancestor 4 to 6 generations back. This means that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals in Europe. It is estimated that modern humans coexisted with Neanderthals in Europe for up to 5, 000 years. Per the article:
....radiocarbon dating of remains from sites across Europe suggests that modern humans and Neanderthals both lived in Europe for up to 5,000 years....DNA taken from a 40,000-year-old modern human jawbone reveals that this man had a Neandertal ancestor as recently as four to six generations back.... They estimate that five to 11 percent of the genome preserved in the bone derives from a Neanderthal ancestor...."The data from the jawbone imply that humans mixed with Neanderthals not just in the Middle East but in Europe as well" says Qiaomei Fu, one of the lead researchers of the study.
The findings appear in the latest issue of the journal, Nature.
There was a show on PBS just last night (Well, up here in the panhandle of Idaho on PBS stations IdahoTV and KSPS, at least) that talked about this:
and here is a review of it: http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/06/review-pbs-first-peoples-tra...
Also, an earlier NOVA show on PBS: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/nvsn6.sci.bio.neander/inve...
I enjoyed both, but, as I was an English major, I am sure these programs may be simplistic to folks with a true science background; however, I do find the research fascinating. Thanks for posting!
We just started getting the First Peoples series on Maryland Public Television down here in Baltimore as well.
I remember Chris Stringer, not so long ago, arguing for the possibility of moderns interbreeding with Neanderthal, or erectus inhabitants. At the time the probabilities of mixing were considered close to zero, what a turn around in just a few years. I wouldn't be surprised if evidence was found of human- erectus mixing.