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Neandertal genes influence brain development of modern humans

DNA fragments from Neandertals in the human genome shed light on brain evolution

A characteristic feature of modern humans is the unusually round skull and brain, in contrast to the elongated shape seen in other human species. An interdisciplinary research team, led by the Max Planck Institutes for Psycholinguistics and Evolutionary Anthropology, brought together fossil skull data, brain imaging and genomics. By studying Neandertal DNA fragments found in the genomes of living Europeans, the scientists have now discovered genes that influence this globular shape.

© CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Bild: Philipp Gunz)