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artaig t1_iwphg7t wrote

Modern humans and Neanderthals evolved from the same parent species (which is debated). Traditionally, Homo Erectus.

Homo Erectus lived in East Africa and spread throughout the continent and into Eurasia and Oceania. Local populations in Eurasia, cut off (or distant enough) from African population evolved gradually into Neanderthal and Denisovan, adapted to those environments.

In Africa, Erectus evolved into Sapiens, who would leave Africa following the steps of earlier Erectus, and find the descendants of them living there, the Neanderthals.

Basically, Grandma Abilis had two daughters, Erectus I and Erectus II. Erectus II left Africa for Eurasia. Erectus I had a daughter, Sapiens, who left Africa and hooked up with her cousin Neanderthal, the son of Erectus II.


SweetBasil_ t1_iws9sxy wrote

it's generally not thought that H. erectus evolved into Neandertals/Denisovans outside of Africa. Erectus was already outside of Africa long before the split separating the N/D lineage from ancestral sapiens happened within Africa.

Neandertals/Denisovans likely descended from H. heidelbergensis. A similar looking population to heidelbergensis is found in Africa, where it is sometimes called H. rhodesiensis. This population leaving Africa maybe ~700,000 years ago likely gave rise to Neandertals and Denisovans in Eurasia, while that staying behind (rhodesiensis) could have given rise to sapiens.

For comparison, Erectus is found outside of Africa (in Java) by at least 1.4 million years ago.

Interestingly, the genome of a Denisovan in Siberia showed small traces of an even older genome. This may have been from interbreeding with erectus.


MegavirusOfDoom t1_iwt4yu4 wrote

Since 1.3 million years, more than 50% of hominid finds come from europe and asia, so perhaps the African origin since 1mn years is overstated in the fog of 50 subspecies of which we know half a dozen. Neanderthal and Denisovan arent reported in africa, althought their roots are perhaps 70% african from 500k yrs.


travelingjack t1_iwqiy67 wrote

That has to be the BEST imagery of this explanation. So clear. Thanks