Research on the Neanderthal genome has revealed modern humans and Neanderthals could interbreed with one another. This means Neanderthals and modern humans are all of the same kind, or family. In other words, Neanderthals are just a variation of humans.
The following is from an article on the New Scientist website entitled, “Breeding with Neanderthals helped humans go global,” by Michael Marshall.
“The publication of the Neanderthal genome last year offered proof that Homo sapiens bred with Neanderthals after leaving Africa. There is also evidence that suggests they enjoyed intimate relations with other hominins including the Denisovans, a species identified last year from a Siberian fossil.”
Tourists at the entrance to Denisova Cave, Russia from the Wikimedia Commons.
But another variation of humans was discovered fairly recently, the Denisovans. Their genome reveals they were related to the Neanderthals. But there is more to the plot. The Denisovans also interbred with another mysterious variation of humans.
The following quotes are from another article by Michael Marshall, “Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.”
“The genome shows that Denisovans were cousins of the Neanderthals – this much was already known. “
“The new hominin has left its traces in the genome of a Denisovan, an extinct hominin known to exist from a finger bone and two teeth found in a Siberian cave. Nobody knows what Denisovans looked like because there are so few fossils. But geneticists have managed to sequence their entire genome to a high degree of accuracy.”
“The best explanation is that the Denisovans interbred with an unidentified species, and picked up some of their DNA. Or as Reich puts it: “Denisovans harbour ancestry from an unknown archaic population, unrelated to Neanderthals.”
A finger bone and two teeth are not a lot of evidence. But with the evidence they do have, the information seems to show that these hominins were all in the same family or kind. There also seems to be a variation within this human family. This is no surprise to Scripture.
Again, the Bible can shed light on the evidence.
As we study Scripture, God is a God of unlimited knowledge and intelligence capable of making and creating complex creatures. Scientists are now beginning to see the incredible complexity of life. Also, as we examine Scripture and science, there is the ability in the genome for great variety. In Genesis chapter ten, we have the division of the nations as people groups that spread throughout the world.
Genesis 10:5 – By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
Genesis 10:32 – These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
With the separation of nations, certain human characteristics would be more pronounced or prevalent in the dispersed people groups. Thus giving us the drastic variations of humans we see today, and it was possibly even greater in the past. As time past from the division of the nations, or even from Adam, some of these people groups have been lost due to wars (genocide), harsh living conditions, diseases, natural disasters, interbreeding with other people groups, etc.
The following is from the same article mentioned above, “Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.”
“Whoever the mystery people were, they are a reminder that inbreeding was rife in human evolution.”
Interbreeding within the human kind and having more little humans is not Darwinian evolution (macro-evolution), but instead micro-evolution or variation within a kind. This concept is both Scriptural and scientific, but not evidence for macro-evolution.
Going back to the articles, the finding of a wide variety of humans is no surprise. Some of the humans had big jaws while some had small jaws, some had big skulls and some had small ones, some ate with big teeth and others without, some people had sloping foreheads and big eyebrow ridges and others had straight or protruding foreheads. Some individuals were very big, and others were small. Some people even had big noses whiles others had small ones (unfortunate).
Just because an individual has a flat forehead, larger eyebrow ridges, big jaw and teeth, or even a big nose does not mean that he or she is less human or more primitive! These are some of the variations God has programmed into the human genome.
There are no surprises in the fossil record. They fit perfectly with what we read in Genesis. It’s all in the family!
All in the Family! Part 1
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