Illustration of a human and Neanderthal skull side by side.
Mutation Linked to Difference Between Human and Neanderthal Brains
A single amino acid substitution in a protein causes increased neuron production in the frontal lobes of humans compared to Neanderthals—a tiny difference that could have given our species a cognitive edge, researchers say.
Mutation Linked to Difference Between Human and Neanderthal Brains
Mutation Linked to Difference Between Human and Neanderthal Brains

A single amino acid substitution in a protein causes increased neuron production in the frontal lobes of humans compared to Neanderthals—a tiny difference that could have given our species a cognitive edge, researchers say.

A single amino acid substitution in a protein causes increased neuron production in the frontal lobes of humans compared to Neanderthals—a tiny difference that could have given our species a cognitive edge, researchers say.

neanderthal
Artist&rsquo;s rendition of multiple <em>Neisseria gonorrhoeae</em>, the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, depicted as two spheres stuck together, each covered in tendrils.
Gonorrhea-Blocking Mutation Also Protects Against Alzheimer’s: Study
Holly Barker | Aug 5, 2022
Research traces the evolution of a gene variant that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it originally evolved in response to infectious bacteria.
The fossil tooth found in the Annamite Mountains in Laos
Ancient Tooth Could Be Clue in Denisovan Migration Mystery
Andy Carstens | May 18, 2022
The new fossil from Laos helps answer the question of how some people from Oceania carry DNA from the ancient hominin.
Uncovering Ancient Residual DNA
Uncovering Ancient Residual DNA
The Scientist Creative Services Team
A look at how ancient events crafted modern human DNA and their potential impact on human health.
group of paleolithic people around a campfire
Gene Variant Points to Starvation’s Evolutionary Legacy
Sophie Fessl | Sep 28, 2021
Ancient and modern genomes reveal that a variant of the human growth hormone receptor likely helped our ancestors survive when food was scarce.
3 by 5 grid of black and white photos of indigenous Filipino portraits
Indigenous Filipino Group Has Highest Known Denisovan Ancestry
Annie Melchor | Aug 13, 2021
Researchers found the relatively high proportion of DNA from a hominin cousin—nearly 5 percent—when they scanned more than 1,000 genomes from 118 distinct ethnic groups.
tibetan mastiff with ghostly wolves in the background
The Extinct Species Within
Christie Wilcox | Aug 6, 2021
The genomes of living animals are littered with DNA from long-gone relatives, providing a lens on evolution, past extinctions, and perhaps even solutions to agricultural problems.
 Close-up view of the drapery hosting most of the red stains.
65,000-Year-Old Cave Markings Made by Neanderthals: Study
Lisa Winter | Aug 3, 2021
An analysis concludes that pigments were transported into the cave, and the marks were made with intention, though their ultimate meaning remains unknown.
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An artist's depiction of a new species of Homo, H. longi
“Dragon Man” May Replace Neanderthal as Our Closest Relative
Amanda Heidt | Jun 25, 2021
A massive, well-preserved skull discovered in China in the 1930s belongs to a new species called Homo longi, researchers report, but experts remain skeptical about the evidence.
Gene-Edited Organoids Explore Neanderthal Brain Function
Jef Akst | Feb 12, 2021
Using CRISPR to swap an archaic variant of the NOVA1 gene into human stem cells, researchers create organoids with neurodevelopmental differences from those carrying modern DNA.
2020 end of year roundup science news wildfire pandemic coronavirus covid-19 salivary glands tubarial mitochondria in blood neanderthal dna in african genome first blood test for alzheimer's inclusivity black in x stem
The Biggest Science News of 2020
Kerry Grens | Dec 23, 2020
Neanderthal DNA surprises in modern humans, the first blood test for Alzheimer’s, a discovery of new human salivary glands, and, oh yeah, a pandemic
Y Chromosome from Early Modern Humans Replaced Neanderthal Y
Jef Akst | Sep 24, 2020
A selective advantage may have led the modern human Y chromosome to sweep through the Neanderthal population after it was introduced via interbreeding more than 100,000 years ago.
Genetics Steps In to Help Tell the Story of Human Origins
Katarina Zimmer | Sep 1, 2020
Africa’s sparse fossil record alone cannot reveal our species’ evolutionary history.
artifacts homo sapiens ancient hominin neanderthal bulgaria cave
45,000-Year-Old Human Remains Found in Bulgarian Cave
Jef Akst | May 12, 2020
A tooth and six bone fragments are the oldest confirmed Homo sapiens fossils in Europe.
Image of the Day: Ancient Fiber Technology
Amy Schleunes | Apr 13, 2020
Researchers discover a fragment of cord between 41,000 and 52,000 years old that points to Neanderthals’ complex cognitive abilities.
Neanderthal Skeleton Find Supports Idea of Intentional Burials
Amy Schleunes | Feb 19, 2020
Microscopic plant remnants found near the bones indicate that the ancient humans practiced burying rituals, but the archaeological field is not in full agreement.
a readout showing genetic sequences
Remnants of Extinct Hominin Species Found in West African Genomes
Shawna Williams | Feb 13, 2020
A study points to the existence of an ancient human relative that interbred with Homo sapiens.
Africans Have More Neanderthal DNA than Previously Thought
Jef Akst | Jan 30, 2020
A new analysis of more than 2,500 human genomes indicates that modern Eurasians who acquired Neanderthal DNA during past interbreeding migrated back to Africa and spread those sequences.
decade 2019 2020
Most Popular Stories of the Decade, Year-by-Year
Kerry Grens | Dec 19, 2019
The Scientist’s reporters tracked the development of CAR T cell therapies, explored the Neanderthal DNA in our genomes, and dove into a CRISPR controversy.
Homo sapiens Might Not Be Responsible for Neanderthal Demise
Catherine Offord | Nov 29, 2019
Researchers’ simulations suggest that small population sizes and inbreeding made Neanderthal populations vulnerable to chance fluctuations in population size.