Are ghosts real? | Natural History Museum

Are ghosts real? | Natural History Museum


Although Neanderthals went extinct around 40,000 years ago, they left behind a genetic legacy. Many humans alive today carry around 2% Neanderthal DNA. But do other now-extinct human species also live on in our genes? We know that most modern humans today
have around 2% of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes
from ancient interbreeding events. What’s less well known
is that there were other ancient interbreeding events
in our genome showing up in Neanderthals and other groups.
Because we don’t know the exact source of that interbreeding,
we can’t link it with the fossils directly. We call these interbreeding species ‘ghost’
species. Of course it’s possible that we have the fossils
of those ghost species already, but without the DNA and the fossils we can’t
be sure.

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