The Neanderthals and Us
Hear from the world-renowned Human Origins and Palaeoanthropology expert on our relationship with Neanderthals.
Professor Chris Stringer - Research Leader, Centre for Human Evolution Research, Natural History Museum London
The Neanderthals were a distinct species of human who disappeared about 40,000 years ago, for reasons that are still disputed. However, because we now have genomes from Neanderthal fossils, we know that before they vanished they interbred with members of our species, and most of us today carry a genetic heritage from that interbreeding.
Professor Stringer’s early research was on the relationship of Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe, but through his work on the Recent African Origin model for modern human origins, he now collaborates with archaeologists, dating specialists, and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally.
He played a key role in formulating the recent African origin — ‘Out of Africa’ — model of our species’ origins in Africa over 100,000 years ago. Working with new fossil, archaeological and genetic data, Chris has now set out a modified version of this model, termed the pan-African origin model.
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Image courtesy of the Natural History Museum London - The Forbes' Quarry Neanderthal cranium