NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals

NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 9:00pm

Reconstruction of father and son

Credit: Courtesy of WGBH Boston

What happened when the first modern humans encountered Neanderthals 60,000 years ago? In 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced that they had reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome and the analysis showed that modern humans and Neanderthals had interbred, leaving a small signature of Neanderthal genes in everyone outside Africa today. NOVA Decoding Neanderthals, airing Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 11 and 1011), explores the implications of this exciting discovery. Were Neanderthals really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired? NOVA examines a range of new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, suggesting that we may have underestimated our long-vanished cousins.

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