~ The Human Genome sequence was finished in 2001. That is 3,000,000,000 bits of information were decoded and put in order – a BIG job.
~ Neanderthals are our closest relatives on the hominid family tree. We split from them about 500,000 years ago and for the next 475,000 years or so, modern humans and Neanderthals coexisted on the planet and sometimes even in the same region.
~ Neanderthals vanished about 30,000 years ago, leaving modern humans to inherit the Earth. Why humans ended up being more successful has long been a topic of debate.
~ Interestingly, the newly completed sequence shows that humans and Neanderthals have genomes that are 99.5 percent the same.
~ By comparing the human and Neanderthal genomes with that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, researchers hope to tell which genes changed very recently, giving modern humans an edge.