Neanderthal’s Ebb and Flow #poem #anthropology #DNA

The floor of a cave
Holds subtle clues,
Genetic remnants
Preserved in the ooze.

Molecular treasures
Hide in dirt layers,
From blood or from skin,
Or lumps of whatever.

Statistical methods
Link populations
Throughout ancient Europe’s
Inter-glacial locations.

When ice returned
The Tree of Life shook,
Layers of soil,
Are leaves
in humanity’s book.

Classic Neanderthal image from 1920

Thanks to for their article on a report in Science that dirt from Northern Spain has yielded the first nuclear DNA from an ancient human to be gleaned from sediments:

The sequences reveal the genetic identity and sex of ancient cave dwellers and show that one group of Neanderthals replaced another in the Spanish cave about 100,000 years ago, perhaps after a climate cooling. “They can see a shift in Neanderthal populations at the very same site, which is quite nice.”

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