When We Met Other Human Species


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Published: 3 months ago
We all belong to the only group of hominins on the planet today. But we weren’t always alone. 100,000 years ago, Eurasia was home to other hominin species, some of which we know our ancestors met, and spent some quality time with.

Thanks to Julio Lacerda and Fabrizio de Rossi from Studio 252mya for their wonderful hominin illustrations. You can find more of their work here: https://252mya.com/

Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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References: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h8iVAIugVPfxOcCZKeZxtZfa6mNP8V7xMhS_vxmDRl0/edit?usp=sharing


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Some commenters have pointed out that calling Neanderthals and Denisovans “other hominin species” in this episode breaks the rules of the biological species concept (BSC), which says if two things can interbreed, then they’re the same species. Some paleoanthropologists would agree. They consider both Neanderthals and Denisovans to be subspecies of Homo sapiens, rather than separate species. Other experts would say that Neanderthals have a set of features that make them clearly distinguishable from Homo sapiens, putting them outside the range of variation we include in our species. And we hardly know the Denisovans - like we said in the video, they don’t even have a scientific name yet.


The incredible thing about this is that we can even think about applying the BSC to fossils at all. The BSC is a species concept based on living organisms, and it’s only been within the last two decades or so that we’ve had the ancient DNA and the technology to test hypotheses about interbreeding in extinct groups. And it’s not the only way to define a species, either, so it will likely be a while (if ever) before anthropologists decide whether we’re a different species, subspecies, or population from the Neanderthals and Denisovans.


(Darcy Shapiro, PhD, script editor)

2 months ago

Maybe they should be considered different races since technically all humans on earth today are considered the same race.

1 hour ago

Denisovens we’re probably hot

3 days ago

Ever hear of a fckn chiweenie? How bout a labradoodle?

3 days ago

It seems illogical that our species could successfully breed with a different biped species. Of course there are several variations of our species but we are all of the same species.

2 weeks ago

They weren't different species.

I'm a reptile handler enthusiast in Australia and there's perfect examples of one species looking so radically different, with vastly different hunting strategies, egg-clutching behaviour, and general size and appearance ... and yet they're the same species.

The common carpet python and the diamond python.

Both of them morelia spilota...


Their personalities, colouration, hunting strategies, and even their average clutch sizes are wildly divergent.

Both of them interbreed and produce fertile young. Both of them produce hybrids. That being said, in the wild they had become geographically locked into different environments with the Holocene epoch, and over thousands of generations have become very different looking and behaviourally incongruent subspecies of the whole.

And these differences are worlds apart on their own, just not enough to create two distinct species.

Another common example? Dogs. All of them have been carefully bred and undertaken significant animal husbandry that you can have dogs the size of your hand, to dogs that weigh as much as a person. Still the same species.

2 weeks ago

I have an oval shaped skull and I'm offended

20 hours ago

Thanks for the diabetes, uncle Nean.

21 hours ago

We are Hybrids

1 day ago

Ugh, eww humans, they are still terrible no matter where we evolve...but this was neat!

1 day ago

"...an interbreeding event..."

I'll just leave that there.

2 days ago

A wonderful and informative presentation. Thank you.

2 days ago

Maasai in Africa have Neanderthal DNA.

2 days ago

Neanderthals lives matter

2 days ago

How could u not interbreed. U like what u like.

3 days ago

If we can interbreed with them, are they even a different species? Or: Are Europeans and Asians even the same species as subsaharean Africans if they differ in particular genes and are mixed with neanderthals?

3 days ago

Who were The First Ancient Cartographers?

3 days ago

Penelope Johnson did maps even exist during the time? 🤔

1 day ago

I've always been curious, there's no way our ancestors could ever tell that other hominid species were separate species when they encountered each other no?

4 days ago

Do you think having one type of DNA would explain why we have different ways of thinking

5 days ago

Why are the different races of humans not treated as separate sub species? They’re obviously distinct and evolved and adapted in their own different environment, I mean humans change and evolve just like every other animal

5 days ago

Modern human did not migrate out of Africa. Stop connecting the wrong dots.

5 days ago

Intelligence is the difference

5 days ago

O laimos kondos

5 days ago

They couldnt speak
And move the arms like us

5 days ago

Dude, there is no 100000000000 years.. Your evolution theory is failing and there is no solid proof of just one occurrence of it even happening..

Creation Creation Creation..

5 days ago

You apparently have a double dose of Neanderthal DNA.

2 days ago

Gee humans mated with other hominids...Hell humans screw sheep and goats. I've been saying that if we were compatible it would happen based on what humans do now. I've been saying this for 30 years! Why would a human male kill a woman he can have sex with when there were VERY FEW hominids!

5 days ago

They probably disappeared from being hunted. Humans have quite the history of doing that.

5 days ago

Isnt it crazy how you can get to know so much information from the internet. I Mean our generation Are going to be so clever and have deep knowledge, only a scientist would have known thesr things 30 years ago.

5 days ago

How much modern human DNA has been found in non modern human specimens. I have a theory that modern humans screwed and out screw our ancestors and cousins into extinction. Climate change a factor an well. But the fact that mitochondrial DNA was found suggest that we were sticking it to everything we could and population estimates suggest that the other humans weren't spreading their seed as prolifically. Therefore unable to keep up with our reproductive rates and falling victim to humanoid lust eventually were absorbed into the modern human species. One can also argue that were a subclass of the same species since we could successfully reproduce without producing sterile offspring. Hmmm, one to grow on.

5 days ago

Great video

5 days ago

There is to many questions

6 days ago

There are too many questions. Are you a blond Neanderthal ?
That's one of the questions.

2 days ago

Scientist A, "hey I found a coupe bones", Scientist B "what are they from? "Scientist A "I am not sure yet, but they look like ape bones," Scientist B" just a few bones look like ape bones?" Scientist A no but there are so many easily deceived people who are willfully ignorant and ready to believe anything that they will accept this knowledge as fact! "Scientist B" oh yeah those democrats will believe anything, maybe you can convince them to sell their soul, kill their babies, worship idols, pedophiles, actors, pop singers, athletes, money, themselves, and maybe even Bernie Sanders? Scientist A, nah just the bones for now, your going too far!

6 days ago

So question since the Neanderthals headlong gated skulls and they were not from Africa then why did the Egyptians worship this elongated skull. Why did wrap their infants heads to make them elongated?

6 days ago

Just to add: the narrative about the lack of Neanderthals genomes in sub Sahara Africa is not correct, because of many back migrations from Eurasia to Africa. It's obviously with the people in Eritrea and some Ethiopian folks, but also in Nigeria, South Africa etc are tribes with Eurasian ancestry DNA from breeding, especially in the last 6000 years.

6 days ago

I dont belive all the Neanderthals and homosepians breeded together. How many times did they fight against each other. I think homosepians have been around since the Jurassic age.

6 days ago