DNA reveals Neanderthals first mated with humans 50,000 years ago

A new study has examined the 45,000-year-old DNA from a Siberian man that has demonstrated that Neanderthals and humans first mated 50,000 years ago.

Washington: A new study has examined the 45,000-year-old DNA from a Siberian man that has demonstrated that Neanderthals and humans first mated 50,000 years ago.

Scientists analyzed the shaft of a thighbone found by an artist and mammoth ivory collector, Nikolai Peristov, on the left bank of the river Irtysh near the settlement of Ust'-Ishim in western Siberia in 2008. They calculated the age of the man's bone to be about 45,000 years old.

Study co-author Janet Kelso, a computational biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, told Live Science that this was the earliest directly dated modern human outside of Africa and the Middle East, and the oldest modern human [genome] to have been sequenced.

The scientists also found this man carried a similar level of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians and the research suggested that Neanderthal genes flowed into the ancestors of this man 7,000 to 13,000 years before he lived.

Kelso said that findings suggest that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred approximately 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, which was close to the time of the major expansion of modern humans out of Africa and the Middle East.

The study is published online in journal Nature.