Neandertals replacing Neandertals

The Neandertal-paper published by Hajdinjak et al. today was fun to read in several aspects. Partly because it was a nice paper, but mostly because it brought back memories from one of the papers I have enjoyed most writing, our Neandertal-turnover paper that we published in MBE 2012. There was much effort in fitting the Valdegoba sequence together, and I spent many evenings together with Love Dalén and with Phylonet to ensure the quality of the data. But eventually it came out as the first study on Neandertal population genetics, that is Neandertal-Neandertal relations, everything else had been on Neandertal-H. Sapiens relations.


And this one that is out today nicely confirms almost everything we proposed in that old paper, but with genomic data. It confirms the population turn-over in Europe, it also confirms the time for it, and it even confirms the origin of the recolonizing Neandertals (from the east). It was a fun paper to prepare and write, and it is nice to see that it holds when the complete genomes are coming out even though it was a mitochondrial paper published six years ago.


The split between the young European and the older and Asian group from the 2012 paper. The new genomic paper estimates the split to be 20% older, but comfortably close for us to feel that we still got it in the right ball-park.