Researchers have found that Neanderthals passed on a lot more traits than you might think including skin tone, hair colour, sleeping patterns and even mood.
Around 2% of the DNA of non-African people is Neanderthal, which means that inevitably there were always going to be some traits that were passed down.
Until now though, it had never been clear how many traits there were or indeed what they were.
A study led by Janet Kelso at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany has revealed not only the amount of traits, but how they affect us.
What they found was interesting – all the traits associated with Neanderthal DNA were related in some way to sunlight exposure.
When humans moved from Africa to Eurasia around 30,000-100,000 years ago, Neanderthals had been living in communities for thousands of years. Their bodies had adapted to the cooler temperatures and lower light levels.
“Skin and hair color, circadian rhythms and mood are all influenced by light exposure,” the researchers wrote.
– Thomas Tamblyn
Photo source – Flickr.com