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Oldest DNA Recovered From 7,000-Year-Old Skeletons In Spain

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the original-markers dept.

Science 146

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers published a paper in the current issue of Current Biology detailing their analysis of DNA from 7,000-year old cavemen in northern Spain. From the article: 'The bones of the two young adult males were found in a cave in the Cantabarian mountain range in 2006 by a handful of explorers, 4,920 feet above sea level. The cold atmosphere is what preserved the DNA in the remains of the two bodies. The cavemen lived during the Mesolithic period and were hunter-gatherers, as determined by an ornament one of the skeletons was holding. They have named the two skeletons Braña1 and Braña2 after the Braña-Arintero site in which they were discovered. They were in near-perfect condition.'"

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146 comments

JP (3, Insightful)

kh31d4r (2591021) | about 2 years ago | (#40515435)

When are we cloning dinosaurs?

Why ? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40515465)

When are we cloning dinosaurs?

Why should we?

Re:Why ? (5, Funny)

lazarith (2649605) | about 2 years ago | (#40515495)

So that we can create an amusement park and sell tickets? Duh.... It's not as if it could end badly or anything.

You aint been clubbing... (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 2 years ago | (#40516673)

You aint been clubbing...until you have been clubbing with Cavemen!

Re:You aint been clubbing... (0)

Larryish (1215510) | about 2 years ago | (#40517679)

If you had read the entire article, you would have found that the DNA really came from one of the researchers who has a penchant for extreme necrophilia.

True story!

Re:Why ? (5, Funny)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | about 2 years ago | (#40515499)

Science doesn't ask why should we! Science asks why the heck not put chainsaws on bears and fit them with jetpacks you insensitive clod!

Re:Why ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515705)

You know how, in all of your glory, you hid your hopes and dreams in my closet? You know how you hoped that no one would find them?

I found them. And when I found them... well, let's just say that they're now... shall we say... dumped on sallies! That's right; I put my ass right over them, lifted it up, and plopped it down. Each time I plopped it down, more dump flew all over it. I dumped and dumped and dumped and dumped until even the dump had absolutely zero places left to dump on. Your hopes and dreams are now mere dumped on sallies!

You will never know bread, sandwich!

Re:Why ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515735)

And you will never know pussy until you grow up. Unless you're into underage chicks.

Re:Why ? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515503)

food of course, they are basically just giant chickens

Re:Why ? (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#40515603)

Of course we should, just to show we can. We'll worry about other things later.

Re:Why ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40515629)

Of course we should, just to show we can. We'll worry about other things later.

You're right, of course

Please accept my sincere apology

Re:Why ? (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#40515675)

LOL :)

Re:Why ? (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#40515755)

Not because it's easy, but it because it gets nerds hard.

Re:Why ? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 years ago | (#40516785)

When are we cloning dinosaurs?

Why should we?

You never stopped to think if you should, you only stopped to think if you could.

Re:Why ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40517089)

We'll put it on a lunch box and sell it - we're gonna sell it!

Re:JP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515695)

Pfft, dinosaurs?

When are we cloning skeletons?
I'd imagine they would walk like Jason and the Argonauts' skeletons [youtube.com]

Re:JP (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#40515767)

They already did that. There are several documentaries about it. It's called Juicy K Park or sth like that

Re:JP (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516087)

No time soon. Despite earlier signs, there has been no legitimate DNA recovery from the Mesozoic, the time of the dinosaurs. All the earlier discoveries from amber of that age have turned out to be bogus, as have claims of obtaining DNA from dinosaur bone (it was contamination). In fact, the story is the same for most younger examples too. The oldest legitimate DNA is no more than a few tens of thousands of years old, and very fragmentary. So, we may get information from mammoths, moas, and giant sloths of the Pleistocene, but apparently nothing from extinct dinosaurs. Check this paper [nhm.ac.uk] [PDF] and this one [www.ul.pt] [PDF] for short reviews, and this one [mcmaster.ca] for a longer review.

Re:JP (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516797)

Your links are a little dated since as of the most recent, dinosaur soft tissues have been discovered intact. Like T. Rexas blood vessels. See here [smithsonianmag.com] . Granted it was only in 2006, but I was surprised none of the links were more recent.

While this particular discovery didn't provide us with DNA, it does give more hints to the biology of dinosaurs in light of the absense of DNA. Though not equivocal, still very important to our understanding, as some conclusions can be drawn from soft tissue structure.

Frog DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516865)

I hear filling in the gaps with frog DNA works great.

Re:JP (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40517619)

Excellent TED talk on this. Jack Horner's team is taking a novel...somewhat terrifying approach since there's no DNA available, but he spends a LOT of time talking about trying to get some viable DNA from various sources:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jack_horner_building_a_dinosaur_from_a_chicken.html

Re:JP (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about 2 years ago | (#40516387)

Actually it is easier to regress chickens into dinosaurs by screwing around with the on/off switches in their DNA. Which by the way is already being done.....

Re:JP (1)

silentbrad (1488951) | about 2 years ago | (#40517515)

I saw that in the discovery channel. I think the guy was talking about doing the same with emus or ostriches. Of course, it might also be that I saw the chicken embryos he'd been messing with and started thinking about an ostrich with teeth, scales, arms with clawed digits, and a tail as long as the rest of its body.

Must be fake. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515439)

The Earth is only 6,000 years old! The Earth will always be 6,000 years old.

Re:Must be fake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516259)

4004BC plus 2012 AD and -1 since there was no year zero = 6015 years

So yeah it must be imaginary, like we imagine that we can see other Galaxies millions or billions of light years away

Re:Must be fake. (2, Informative)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about 2 years ago | (#40516655)

The sad thing is, most Americans actually believe that.

Re:Must be fake. (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 years ago | (#40517209)

Remember, when arguing with a creationist, that the "possibility" of their argument is all that matters, not the "probability". The creationist counter-argument is:
1. A light-year is a unit of distance, not time, so does not prove age older than 6,000 years.
2. God created "light" as a separate creation event, so the light from the star is just the illumination of God-created light. If you deny that God created the light, then you have to presume that the light traveled for millions of years from the apparent source. An analogy is if you see an arrow in a tree, you might reasonably presume that someone recently used a bow to shoot it, but reality might be that I just jabbed it into the wall with my hand. The point supposedly being that unless you know the whole story [as revealed in the Bible] your deductive reasoning is going to fall short.

Santa is just an anagram (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#40515445)

They were planted there by Satan to test your faith in the Earth being 6000 years old.

--
BMO

Re:Santa is just an anagram (2)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 2 years ago | (#40515463)

Whaddya mean?

Everyone knows humans and dinosaurs lived side by side. It was on tv, for Christ's sake. Ever hear of the Flintstones?

Re:Santa is just an anagram (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about 2 years ago | (#40516333)

Everyone knows humans and dinosaurs lived side by side.

This article proves it. These cavemen were only 6000 years old, not millions of years old. Dinosaurs were also around 6000 years ago, when God created the planet. After these two cavemen died their pet dinosaurs dragged them up on a mountain and ate them, leaving the bones for archaeologists to discover now. Then the dinosaurs died in a flood.

Re:Santa is just an anagram (2)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 2 years ago | (#40516405)

Then the dinosaurs died in a flood.

Why? Were they witches?

Re:Santa is just an anagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516439)

"Then the dinosaurs died in a flood.

Why? Were they witches?"

There was a duckbill dinosaur on the other side of the scale.

Re:Santa is just an anagram (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 2 years ago | (#40517299)

Current Internet thinking is that the Flintstones takes place in the future, concurrently with the Jetsons.

Re:Santa is just an anagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515683)

Any you were put here to test my faith in evolution.
The guy in the red suite with a pitch fork is our own
ego! Get it right!

Re:Santa is just an anagram (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40516663)

Pretty tricky for Satan to plant those skeletons before God created the world. For that he'd have had to have the plans for human beings before God made them. Did he steal the plans and that's what got him in trouble with the Almighty? Or did he invent us and God had to wait for his patents to expire before he could create his own people?

But where are they? (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | about 2 years ago | (#40515449)

Where are the 7000 year old cavewomen?!

Re:But where are they? (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 years ago | (#40515477)

Where are the 7000 year old cavewomen?!

They were vacationing in the South part of Spain.

Re:But where are they? (0)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#40515607)

No, the kitchen stove is in the part of the cave they haven't visited yet.

Re:But where are they? (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#40515479)

I haven't heard of a 7000 year old woman, but the 2000 year old man is still alive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnLqLHWDg5E [youtube.com]

--
BMO

Re:But where are they? (-1, Troll)

Fuck_this_place (2652095) | about 2 years ago | (#40515501)

They raped them and hid the bodies, but if they ever do it again, now we'll know!

Re:But where are they? (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#40515647)

You know when you tell a joke at a party and the entire room goes silent at the punch line?

--
BMO

Re:But where are they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516051)

You know when you tell a joke at a party and the entire room goes silent at the punch line?

--
BMO

You mean like when you tell people that you live in the comments on slashdot? I could see that.

Unfortunately for you and 2-3 other basement virgins, I only party with people that were graced with a sense of humor.

No you can't rent me.

(thx for downvoting btw faggot, now I can only post twice a day. What a fucking retarded site this is.)

Re:But where are they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40517053)

(thx for downvoting btw faggot, now I can only post twice a day. What a fucking retarded homophobic turd I am.)

FTFY.

Re:But where are they? (2)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | about 2 years ago | (#40516491)

Look up the movie "The Man From Earth" - pretty good one.

Re:But where are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515483)

...And why do these cavemen have such hairy palms?

Re:But where are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515575)

Because razor blades were not invented until the Bronze Age?

Re:But where are they? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#40515655)

The women were shopping for shoes in the mall of course.

Re:But where are they? (1)

ThatOtherGuy435 (1773144) | about 2 years ago | (#40516037)

They all stopped aging at 29, of course.

Re:But where are they? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#40517035)

Do I have to spell this out for you? Two young adult males hiding in a cave, one of them with some kind of hunter-gatherer "ornament"? Too bad we haven't identified the genes for homosexuality yet, or we could test these boys' DNA for it. :)

Gays! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515587)

Were they holding hands?

Re:Gays! (2, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#40515703)

Yes, but one was holding a Football. The Scientists believe this to be the original Real Madrid and Barcelona FC captains.

Re:Gays! (1)

master_p (608214) | about 2 years ago | (#40515953)

The first joke that came to my mind...

Re:Gays! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#40516243)

Picture of the ornament they were found holding: Clicky [demotix.com]

CREMATE ME PLEASE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515605)

I'm getting cremated....I don't want them to revive me and do mad experiments with my screwy brain, you won't find my dna anywheres around you mad scientists, and yes guy I know they cannot do that yet, but I'll be damned if one day I wake up inside the fortress of DOOM, whatever hell that level was, screaming "LET ME OOOUT!"

Re:CREMATE ME PLEASE (1)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about 2 years ago | (#40516691)

If they found your DNA, and cloned you, it wouldn't be YOU. It would just be a copy of you, like a twin.

Re:CREMATE ME PLEASE (3)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 years ago | (#40517249)

I'll be damned if one day I wake up inside the fortress of DOOM

Sounds like a reasonable definition of damnation to me.

Oldest human dna (4, Informative)

tinkerton (199273) | about 2 years ago | (#40515611)

It's not the oldest dna, but the oldest human DNA that they've found. This site [creation.com] reports DNA extracted from a 20 million year magnolia leaf.

Re:Oldest human dna (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516113)

Yes, it's not the oldest DNA, but on further study, that plant example is thought to be bacterial contamination [royalsocie...ishing.org] [PDF]. The oldest-known current examples are things like extinct mammoths and mastodons that are much younger than 20 million years.

Re:Oldest human dna (4, Informative)

arobatino (46791) | about 2 years ago | (#40516261)

A few months ago an entire high-quality 30,000-year old Denisovan genome [sciencemag.org] was published.

Misquote in article (3, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40516429)

What the scientist actually said:

“These are the oldest partial genomes from modern human prehistory,” said researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox, a paleogeneticist at the Spanish National Research Council.

He qualifies it with "modern human", which makes sense for a 7000 year old skeleton.

You are citing from them ? (4, Funny)

aepervius (535155) | about 2 years ago | (#40516791)

http://creation.com/about-us#what_we_believe [creation.com]

You gotta kidding me , right ? You are DAMN fucking me ? "Creation magazine" ? Pleeease.

Re:You are citing from them ? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 2 years ago | (#40516977)

Look, I wouldn't fuck you with a 6 foot pole. Do it yourself. As for the link. blame Google. It was harder than i thought to find a good link. There are lots of other links listing ancient dna , some claiming 40 million year old snippets, and couldn't find out which claims are still standing. Most of the old ones appear to have been abandoned though, if wikipedia is a guide.

Re:You are citing from them ? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 2 years ago | (#40517527)

Blame Google for your laziness? Eh?

Re:Oldest human dna (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516939)

That site also has articles like "Why should the Bible be trusted" -- Sorry, but anything they say on that site is suspect. YECs (and even OECs) are notoriously dishonest. (Not saying there *ISN'T* a 20 million year old DNA found in a Magnolia leaf -- just that a different source should be used)

This kind of surprises me (2)

bhartman34 (886109) | about 2 years ago | (#40515615)

I thought that the earliest DNA recovered from early man was much older than this. Haven't we compared Neanderthal DNA to modern human DNA?

Re:This kind of surprises me (5, Informative)

lbbros (900904) | about 2 years ago | (#40515649)

As far as I can remember, these studies on Neanderthal used mitochondrial DNA (i.e., the DNA stored in the mitochondria, which is separate from the one in the nucleus) rather than genomic (i.e. the DNA in the nucleus of the cell).

Re:This kind of surprises me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516283)

The entire nuclear genome of neanderthal was sequenced just last year.

Oldest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515691)

Why does the article claim that this is the "oldest" DNA? There have been plenty of ancient DNA studies that recovered significantly older DNA.

Re:Oldest? (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 2 years ago | (#40515773)

You are right. Neandertal DNA must be at least about 30,000 years old for a start. As I'm not at a university now, I can't check the full paper, but the abstract makes no claim to 'oldest', so this may be a stuff-up by an over-enthusiastic university publicity hack. The paper does claim a full mitochondrial genome, and I'm unaware of whether the older DNA sequences are complete, so maybe this is the seed from which the excessive claim grew.

Re:Oldest? (2)

vipw (228) | about 2 years ago | (#40516427)

Read the headline again carefully. It's the oldest DNA extracted from these 7000 year old skeletons. Obviously you can extract older DNA from older tissue, but good luck extracting older DNA from these skeletons!

Re:Oldest? (2)

vipw (228) | about 2 years ago | (#40516445)

After reading the headline just one more time, I have to conclude that there is another possibility. It is possible to extract older DNA from these skeletons if you move the skeletons out of Spain.

Blue eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515693)

Did you know that all blue man are descended from a single individual who lived only 10,000 years ago ?

Re:Blue eyes (4, Funny)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#40515747)

Did you know that all blue man are descended from a single individual who lived only 10,000 years ago ?

That's why we call them the blue man group.

Oh how I wish Slashdot would consider... (3, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | about 2 years ago | (#40515709)

Not perpetuating the stereotype of spaniards as gay cavemen.

Re:Oh how I wish Slashdot would consider... (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#40515753)

They did find a rainbow Oreo in the cave though...

an ornament? (4, Insightful)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#40515745)

Seems to be jumping to a conclusion saying they were hunter gatherers by an ornament one was holding. I mean, they probably were just by the lack of agricultural evidence from that era, but what you are holding when you die hardly indicates the nature of your entire culture.

Re:an ornament? (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 2 years ago | (#40515787)

Yeah I could not find out what the ornament was. (Will have to wait until I can get to the University library to download the paper). I would believe something like fossilized poop or teeth abrasions as evidence of what they ate, but "an ornament" warrants more description and explanation. Was it a pictographic manual of hunter-gathering?

Re:an ornament? (5, Informative)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about 2 years ago | (#40516351)

Yeah I could not find out what the ornament was.

It was a medallion that said "Member of the Hunter-Gatherer Club of Braña-Arintero". How much more proof do you need?

Re:an ornament? (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40515855)

Seems to be jumping to a conclusion saying they were hunter gatherers by an ornament one was holding. I mean, they probably were just by the lack of agricultural evidence from that era, but what you are holding when you die hardly indicates the nature of your entire culture.

This is the problem I have with mainstream archeology - the jump to conclusions based on scant evidence, often "supported" by jumps to conclusions others have made before, based on even scantier evidence.

There's a round dimple in this wall? Obviously they were sun worshippers! The skeleton's tibia was broken? Obviously this was part of a human sacrifice, because they were sun worshippers!

Re:an ornament? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40515945)

I agree. Dang you, Mainstream Archaeology. Dang you all to heck.

Re:an ornament? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516337)

There is no evidence at all? Congratulation, you just found the birth place of sun worshippers religion, yet to develop any evidence!

Re:an ornament? (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 2 years ago | (#40516567)

In the first place, you're talking about anthropology, not archaeology. In the second place, that's how science works. If you have a hundred artifacts, you try to find a pattern from them, and then if somebody finds a hundred more that invalidate all or part of the previous hypothesized pattern, so be it. You come up with a new one that fits the available data.

Re:an ornament? (2)

epine (68316) | about 2 years ago | (#40515891)

... but what you are holding when you die hardly indicates the nature of your entire culture ...

Depends whether it's an iPhone. Twenty years ago I might have agreed with you.

Hand-held history. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516125)

Seems to be jumping to a conclusion saying they were hunter gatherers by an ornament one was holding. I mean, they probably were just by the lack of agricultural evidence from that era, but what you are holding when you die hardly indicates the nature of your entire culture.

When I die they're going to find an iPhone.

Re:an ornament? (4, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40516471)

It's hard to tell from the article, but I got the impression these two were carefully buried in the cave by other humans. Articles that are buried along with a body tell a lot about the culture. These ornaments depict red deer, which they very likely hunted.

Re:an ornament? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516559)

Couldn't agree more. I mean, for that matter distant-future Alien explorers could conclude we were a species that entirely consisted of sitting infront of computer screens and masterb@iting.

Re:an ornament? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40516767)

Presumably something made from an animal they would have had to hunt, maybe complete with tool marks showing they ate the meat. But maybe these two STOLE the ornament and really came from a robber-gatherer culture. Minus 50th century gangsters.

Re:an ornament? (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | about 2 years ago | (#40516999)

I can see it now--what future archeologists are saying about us:

"We found his bones clutching an iPhone. He must have been one of these Scenesters we have culturally read about."

Buried the lead (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 2 years ago | (#40516023)

I'd be much more interested in the DNA from these explorers that are so tiny that you can measure them by the handful.

Minor spelling correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516185)

it is Cantabrian mountain. Cantabria is a northern region in Spain.

This is bad (4, Funny)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about 2 years ago | (#40516211)

Can't you even have privacy if you are dead for 7000 years?

Re:This is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40517431)

Grave-robbing is only bad against those of your own culture.

So.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516393)

Adam and Steve?

owww buuudy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516475)

It's like Encino Man!

Tagged as Fred and Barney (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516483)

I'm ashamed to be seen reading this site at work. I found this site: http://www.cs.washington.edu/homes/klee/misc/slashdot.html But all of those sites are shit these days, too.

Irony (2)

b_dover (773956) | about 2 years ago | (#40516499)

Anyone else find irony in the fact that a journal named Current Biology publishes an article about 7000 year old DNA?

Oldest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40516741)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windover [wikipedia.org]

Radiocarbon dating on two bones excavated from the pond by the backhoe, paid for by the developers, yielded dates of 7,210 years and 7,320 years Before Present

Alien abductions (1)

FridayBob (619244) | about 2 years ago | (#40516941)

Once we compare it to our modern DNA, this 7,000 year old sample will finally reveal to us the changes that the aliens have made to our DNA after thousands of years of genetic manipulation!

Neandertal DNA is much older (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 years ago | (#40517057)

And more detriorated. But shot-gun fragment analysis has recovered over 85% of a Neandertal genome. Enough to make detailed analysis to say how its related to homo sapiens.

Re:Neandertal DNA is much older (1)

monkeykoder (1820796) | about 2 years ago | (#40517467)

And contrary to racist beliefs Europeans and Asians are more closely related to Neanderthals than Africans.
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